Microsoft announced an addition to its Nokia-branded feature phone line, a legacy of its acquisition of the Finnish device business.
Called Nokia 230, the device has a fairly basic feature set, with 2G connectivity (with a dual-SIM variant), two 2MP cameras, and a 2.8-inch screen. It has a traditional candybar design, with numeric keypad.
Microsoft also touted the ability to access social media services such as “Twitter, Facebook and GroupMe by Skype” and Opera Mini browser for internet access.
Pricing is $55 before local taxes and subsidies. Availability is from December 2015 in India, Asia and Middle East, with other markets to follow in 2016.
Microsoft gained a feature phone business when it acquired Nokia’s Devices and Services unit, a move designed to bolster its position in the mobile market.
And while its Lumia smartphone business has struggled, the feature phone unit has also shrunk significantly, at least partially due to market dynamics – entry level smartphones are coming closer in price to more expensive devices.
At the time of the acquisition, Microsoft positioned the non-smartphone business as offering an “on ramp” to Microsoft services, with the aim of subsequently moving customers to Windows Phone in the future.
With Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, stating at the latest reshuffle that the intention is to move away from having a standalone phone business to “a vibrant Windows ecosystem including our first party device family”, its feature phone line has looked less and less relevant.
And citing the company’s Surface line as a comparison, the focus is now on high-end and business-focused devices.