Microsoft has launched a new Nokia feature phone called the Nokia 216. The reveal of the new “dumb phone” from Microsoft is a huge surprise as the company already announced earlier this year that it would be selling its feature phone business to the Foxconn subsidiary, FIH Mobile.
Back in May, Microsoft said that it was going to sell its feature phone business to FIH Mobile for $350 million. This also includes the acquisition of Microsoft Mobile Vietnam, the company’s manufacturing facility in Hanoi, Vietnam. The deal would include all of Microsoft’s feature phone assets which includes the Nokia brand, software and other services. With the announcement of the Nokia 216, Microsoft’s deal with FIH Mobile has not yet been closed.
“In May 2016, we announced Microsoft reached an agreement to sell the company’s entry-level feature phone assets to FIH Mobile Ltd., a subsidiary of Hon Hai/Foxconn Technology Group, and HMD Global Oy,” a Microsoft spokesperson told ZDNet.
“The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2016, subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions. Until the closing of the transaction, Microsoft continues to run the feature phone business.”
Microsoft’s Nokia 216 is pretty much what everyone expects from feature phones. It’s a basic cellphone that comes with a numeric keypad and a 2.4-inch QVGA display. The device also has 0.3-megapixel cameras up front and on the back. It comes with the Opera mini browser and it runs Nokia’s S30 user interface.
For a lot of people, a cellphone like the Nokia 216 seems to be unnecessary especially now that smartphones are the norm. However, Microsoft wants to keep selling this type of phone as long as possible because millions are still being sold every month, as pointed out by The Verge.
Microsoft is also expected to discontinue its Windows-powered Lumia smartphones by the end of this year as rumors suggest that the company is preparing to unveil a Surface phone in 2017.