After a few years of being almost exclusively in the smartphone telecom industry, it seems that Microsoft is changing course, a bit. Back in April 2014, Microsoft acquired Finnish tech company Nokia with the intent of becoming larger players in the smartphone industry. After the acquisition, Nokia stopped all production of smartphones on every operating system other than Windows Phone. Despite this full fledged effort and push behind the Nokia Lumia smartphone line, Microsoft has failed to increase its market share in the United States and abroad, which currently hovers in low single digits. What's worse, in July of this year, Microsoft decided to cut 18,000 jobs, 12,500 of which belonged to former Nokia employees.
Microsoft has recently announced a new phone, the Nokia 130. The Nokia 130 is an entry level smartphone that will have a price point of around $25 that will be geared towards emerging markets. It will come with a version that supports dual sim technology, giving you the ability to have two different phone numbers work on the same phone. The Nokia 130 will not run on the Windows Phone operating system, but rather on the Nokia 30+ series OS, and will not even come with a camera.
The Nokia 130 will be bare bones and comes with specs that are a blast from the past, including a long lasting battery life (36 days in standby mode). It will also feature Bluetooth 3.0, expandable storage up to 32GB, and a video and music player. Though the phone cannot necessarily do very much, it will do very little, very well. Microsoft is marketing their newest feature phone as an inexpensive, easy, phone that just makes sense to have because it is so inexpensive.
For now, they are targeting markets that are relatively untapped by the industry leading operating systems Apple IOS and Google Android: lower income people in Africa, China, and India. This phone will not be available initially in the United States, where there is not currently the same demand for feature phones; however, it is very possible that Microsoft markets this phone in the US and Europe as a phone to have that you wouldn't care too much what happened to it, especially if it does well abroad. The Nokia 130 is a phone to take on an adventurous hike, to the beach, on a run, or anyplace that you would not normally want to take your primary device and risk damaging it. At a price point of $25, there's almost no reason to not buy it-- it's almost like buying a cheap pair of jeans from the thrift store. You don't need them, but you'd rather get a pair of jeans from the thrift store messed up than your nice pair from Levi Strauss or Banana Republic.
If you are currently a Windows Phone user or fan, don't be too worried-- Microsoft doesn't want to abandon you. If Microsoft's play to lower end markets turns successful, we could see their influence in the entire mobile phone industry--smartphone industry included--increase and improve as a result of gained capital and users.
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