It likely won't compete with Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus, but Microsoft is betting that there is still a market for an ultra-cheap feature phone. At least, that seems to be Redmond's attitude, based on the announcement that it will soon be launching a $29 handset.
Dubbed the Nokia 215, the price tag excludes taxes and subsidies. Microsoft is billing the device as its most affordable Internet-ready, entry-level phone ever, and it would be hard to disagree. According to the press release announcing the launch, Microsoft is marketing the handset to first time phone buyers and people who need second phones.
Internet-Ready Feature Phone
Although accessing the Internet will likely be a far cry from the full-throated experience of surfing the Web on an iPhone or Android device, Microsoft is pushing the idea of the 215 as an Internet-ready phone. It comes with Facebook and Messenger apps preinstalled, along with the Twitter app and an MSN Weather app, offering hourly and 5-day forecasts.
Although Microsoft is focusing on accessing the Internet on the 215 through apps, it is also offering a somewhat truncated browsing experience as well, through the use of the Opera Mini Browser and Bing Search. Hardcore browsing is likely to feel a bit cramped, though. The 215 only comes with a 2.4-inch display. The handset itself is 50 mm wide, 116 mm long and 12.9 mm thick, and sports a 0.3 MP camera.
The 215 will also support Bluetooth-enabled peripherals, and it comes with SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping) technology, allowing two SLAM-enabled phones to send and receive files when placed in proximity to each other.
Marketed to the Developing World
Microsoft seems to be aiming primarily for developing markets with the Nokia 215. The company is highlighting features that would seem to be most attractive in areas without reliable access to good infrastructure.
The Single SIM version of the 215, for example, will offer a standby time of up to 29 days, nearly an entire month, on just a single charge. The Dual SIM model, meanwhile, will offer standby time of 21 days. It will also provide up to 20 hours of talk time on a charge. The Dual SIM model is being marketed to people who travel frequently and need to use multiple SIM cards to manage their data costs.
The built-in FM radio antenna and MP3 player, meanwhile, can provide playback for up to 45 or 50 hours, respectively. The 215 also comes with a built-in flashlight, which could prove useful in areas without reliable access to electricity, or experience frequent blackouts. Microsoft said that nearly 20 percent of the global population still does not have access to electricity.
Microsoft said it would begin rolling out the 215 in the first quarter of 2015, launching first in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe. The phone will be offered in three colors: green, white, and black. The shell is composed of a polycarbonate material that Microsoft is highlighting for its durability.
Posted: 2015-01-07 @ 2:52am PT
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