Though Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) has plans to get rid of several Nokia brand mobile devices, including the Nokia Asha and Nokia S60, the Redmond, Washington-based electronics giant will keep at least one Nokia brand device in its pipeline, in order to cater to the low end markets.
Microsoft recently introduced the Nokia 130, an ultra-low-end mobile device, which includes a MP3 player, an FM radio and can play movies from an SD card. The Nokia 130 does not have an Internet connection; however, it supports 13 hours of talk time, 46 hours of audio playback, and 16 hours of movie watching. The device will sell for just €19 ($25) and will be available in single and dual-SIM versions and several color options.
As Microsoft focuses its efforts on building its Windows Phone brand, which includes switching its once Android-powered Nokia X smartphones to its own mobile platform, Microsoft realizes that it cannot neglect the lowest-end markets. The Nokia 130 will likely sell in markets like Africa, Latin America, South Asia and Eastern Europe.
“Microsoft doesn’t have any other project that can reach these consumers,” Microsoft phone unit VP Jo Harlow told Recode.
Several smartphone makers have started taking a special interest in the low end market. Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) in particular is planning its Android One smartphone to bring high-quality specifications to a device that will cost less than $100. As Samsung Electronics Co. (KRX: 005930) battles against more affordable foreign counterparts like Micromax and Xiaomi, the manufacturer has plans to introduce three devices with price points under $165 in the near future.
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But Harlow notes that basic phones like that Nokia 130 cater to a growing market while the feature phone market is declining. Microsoft’s future endeavors include introducing more basic phones with Internet connections, which would allow users to create Microsoft accounts and “become part of the Microsoft ecosystem.”