Microsoft may well have decided to ditch Nokia’s line of “Asha” powered feature phones, but a new model designed for parts of Asia and Africa is launching in the 3rd quarter of 2014.
Saying it is an expansion of its “first” phones portfolio and aimed at taking advantage of the “rapid growth of ultra-affordable phones”, Microsoft’s Devices Group hopes its Nokia 130 will “introduce millions of people to new digital experiences” and a “mobile first” world.
It’s also clearly a recommitment from Microsoft to the ultra-low end space, because even though the Nokia 130 seems like a throwback to 1999, Microsoft says it is launching into a market that buys 300 million ultra-low cost phones each year.
Promising everyday feature-phone essentials merged with beautiful design and reliability, the 130 has a built-in video player, a flashlight, an FM radio, USB charging and can play music for up to 46 hours non-stop
Aimed at first-time mobile phone buyers, or those wanting a reliable backup phone in case of smartphone loss, Microsoft says the Nokia 130 is built to last.
Specs include a 1.8-inch QQVGA colour display, USB 2.0, 3.5mm AV connector, a microSD card slot compatible with up to 32GB cards, Bluetooth 3.0 with SLAM for easy sharing of digital content without an Internet connection and Nokia’s Series 30+ OS.
There’s also a 1020mAh hour battery that provides 36 days stand-by time for the single-SIM version and 26 days stand-by time for the dual-SIM model, 13 hours of 2G talk time, 46 hours of music playback and 16 hours of video playback.
This makes it one of the most affordable phones with video playback, thus bringing new digital experiences to more people – even if only on a tiny 1.8-inch screen.
Jo Harlow, Microsoft’s VP of Phones said: “As demand in the affordable mobile segment continues to grow, Microsoft remains committed to delivering market-leading mobile innovation at each and every price point.
“It is estimated that at least 1 billion people in the world still do not have a mobile phone, while at the same time there is increasing demand for reliable backup phones in both mature and high-growth markets.”
Ms Harlow added: “With handsets like the Nokia 130, we see tremendous potential to deliver the experience of a ‘mobile-first’ world to people seeking their first device, and we continue to invest in ultra-affordable devices that will introduce people to a ‘cloud-first’ world through Microsoft services such as Bing, Outlook.com and OneDrive.”
The price is 19 euros before taxes or subsidies, which equates to approximately US $25 or $28 in Australia, with analyst firm Strategy Analytics placing the 130 into the sub US $35 category.
It is planned to ship by the 3rd quarter of 2014, with availability in selected markets including China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and Vietnam.
It will likely eventually make it into the ultra-cheap phone section of Coles, Woolies, petrol stations and phone shops in Australia for the same ultra-affordable reasons it is going into Asia and Africa.