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Microsoft Decides to Keep Selling Ultra-Low-End Phones, Debuts $25 Nokia 130

The basic phone is part of a continued business in that area, Microsoft VP Jo Harlow tells Re/code.


When Microsoft announced its plans to scrap its Asha feature phones and shift its Android-based Nokia X to Windows, it appeared the company might be getting out of the low-end phone business entirely.

That’s apparently not the case, though, as Microsoft is introducing the Nokia 130, a 19 euro ($25) cellphone that lacks an Internet connection but includes the ability to play digital music and movies along with an FM radio and flashlight. The new device sits in between the even more basic Nokia 105 and the Nokia 220, which does have some Internet abilities.

It’s aimed largely at emerging markets, though Microsoft sees some opportunities even in developed countries where people are looking for a backup phone.

In an interview, Microsoft phone unit VP Jo Harlow said the company is committed to this part of the business for the long term.

“Microsoft doesn’t have any other project that can reach these consumers,” Harlow said.

More than a billion people don’t have a cellphone, Harlow said, adding that the basic phone business is “stable and growing,” unlike the declining feature phone segment.

And, with the Internet-connected basic phones, Microsoft has an opportunity to introduce customers to services such as Bing and OneDrive.

“These consumers will create a Microsoft account and become part of the Microsoft ecosystem,” Harlow said.

However, Microsoft was until recently making the same case for keeping the Asha and Nokia X lines.

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