Surprise! Microsoft releases a new Nokia feature phone

It’s never over till it’s over. In a surprising move, Microsoft has launched a new, and maybe the last, Nokia branded phone. Called the Microsoft Nokia 216, this device is not something that can be compared with the iPhones and the Galaxies of today, as it is a basic feature phone.

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Feature phones allow users to access basic internet functions such as browsing the web and sending emails. It also features some apps, but it lacks the advanced features of a smartphone and limited support for third-party software.

The Nokia 216 features a 2.4-inch QVGA display, a numeric physical keypad, front and back 0.3MP camera, and runs Nokia S30 user interface. It also features the Opera mini browser and boasts of a 24-day battery life. It is priced at $34 and also comes in a dual SIM version.

If you are wondering why Microsoft would release a feature phone in the age of smartphones, there are number of possible answers.

First, it is Microsoft’s last effort in the phone business before its sale of the Nokia business to FIH Mobile, a subsidiary of Foxconn, for $350 million, is completed.

Second, despite the dawn of smartphones, feature phones are still popular in developing countries such as India where they command 60 percent of the market.

“Indian mobile phone industry is expanding substantially. India is currently the second-largest telecommunication market and has the third highest number of internet users in the world,” Pankaj Anand, CEO of Jivi Mobiles, stated.

Third, this could also be a simple trick to get people to sign up for a Microsoft account. According to The Verge’s Tom Warren, Microsoft has previously hoped that feature phone users will create Microsoft accounts and become a part of the Microsoft ecosystem. There is not clear proof though if these users did sign up for Microsoft accounts.

Though Microsoft is selling Nokia to FIH, the Nokia 216 is probably not the company’s last mobile device. Microsoft is expected to discontinue its Lumia line of phones as the software giant is expected to release a Surface Phone flagship smartphone by mid-2017.

Image source: Microsoft

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