Microsoft commits to ultra low-end phones; launches new Nokia 130

Microsoft may be killing off the Nokia X range and transitioning devices to Windows Phone but that doesn’t mean the company is out of the low-end market completely. In fact, Microsoft is launching a new ultra low-end Nokia 130.

As Recode reports, The Nokia 130 is destined for developing markets and first time mobile phone owners. This device is priced at $25 (19 Euros) off contract and is nothing more than a regular dumb phone. The Nokia 130 doesn’t have internet connectivity though it does support digital movies and music. The device is destined to sit in between the Nokia 105 and the Nokia 220.

All of these phones are designed specifically for the very low-end of the market. Jo Harlow, Microsoft’s phone unit VP, explained:

More than a billion people don’t have a cell phone [and] Microsoft doesn’t have any other project that can reach these consumers

Of course getting a billion people to use your devices, and in some cases your internet services, is good business. Harlow went on to say that Microsoft is committed to this part of the business, which is apparently growing.

Of course we’ve heard that before but if the company is truly committed it means these phones will stick around for the foreseeable future.

Source: Microsoft ,  Recode | Image via Microsoft

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Well this is how phones used to be in the mid to late 90s. They made phone calls and sent text messages. I don't see how the "untra low-end" naming fits but maybe I am too old :-)
And this thing's battery probably lasts at least a month.
Looks like it runs s30 according to nokia website. It also allows USB connector charging and you can even add a sdcard.

Edited by Hussam Al-tayeb, Aug 11 2014, 5:49pm :

Anyone know if ATT in the US would allow this? All the dumb phone options from ATT are $150-$200 and are cheap plastic crap.

Check out the MVNOs - almost all of them have ultra-low-end options. While MVNOs are known primarily as "lifeline service" carriers, that isn't all they do - while TracFone also operates lifeline-service provider Safelink, Safelink isn't even close to being the biggest part of Tracfone's business. TotalCallMobile is another MVNO (they use Sprint AND VZW's networks) that also provides non-lifeline services. (While their website - http://www.totalcallmobile.com - states that they use Sprint's network, I have a lifeline-service Samsung flip-phone clone (specifically, a clone of the oldie-but-goodie ACH9xx) that uses VZW's network.)

Lastly, how easy is it to use a smartphone to send text messages? No - I'm not being facetious; how many submenus do you have to go through to send a text message on a smartphone? (There ARE times and places where making - or receiving - phone calls is not merely impractical, but impossible - such as doctor's offices.) My ACH9xx clone actually has the Messaging Center as a top-level feature on its menu - which is something the original ACH9xx (from either VZW or Sprint) lacked. It actually came in handy Monday; Mom was having her eyes examined in preparation for possible surgery, and wanted to investigate whether new advances in LASIK would enable me to be a candidate. (The same facility also does LASIK, and is now the second-closest such facility to me.) Problem - doctor's offices are typically no-call zones (yes, this also applies to EYE doctors - Mom and I actually have the same ophthalmologist; since she has had cataracts, she has a specialist she sees for that). However, sending text messages is fine. We spent nearly three hours swapping text messages - and I'm not normally a fan of texting. Basically, hooray for sensible not-so-smartphones.

It would be interesting if they were able to get a version of WP on these dumb phone devices... If they are truly getting into the smart watch business, there would likely be a lot of overlap, meaning one OS could probably handle both markets...

sanctified said,
What OS will this run? MS killer s40 and with it the Nokia 515, maybe the best dumb phone ever.

UI on images looks rather Series 40 doesn't it? As you say...what will it actually run?

Sandor said,

UI on images looks rather Series 40 doesn't it? As you say...what will it actually run?

Indeed. Hope is not, because... what the hell? they killed many very good devices for no reason then.

Good on them, I seriously considered if I needed a new smartphone when my old one died. One of my favourite "dumbphones" was the Sony Ericsson W508a. Enjoyable to use, easy to text, call and even music wasn't too bad on it. $20 for one 2nd hand would have left me plenty over for a decent tablet if I *really* wanted some mobility. Ended up going for a Nexus 5 but I still do wonder if I would be fine without it. I always use the features of smartphones but somehow I feel I'd be fine with just taking calls and texts off the long life clamshell with the tablet left in the car or in my bag should I need it.

Between the two battery life is pretty impressive too, a tablet lasts a good deal longer than a phone and a dumb phone on the side lasts even longer. I do wonder how many years it will take before this configuration takes over. Low powered call taker and message maker with a larger powerhouse with a bigger screen for browsing and apps.

I don't think this will this configuration will necessarily take over. Most people will run back to their smartphone quickly I would say. Yeah having the tablet nearby is nice but not as nice as your phone, which can do almost everything your tablet does, in your pocket and within arm's reach.

If the person HAS a smartphone, a not-so-smartphone such as this will be a "backup" phone - it's not aimed at smartphone users directly.

I point out - further down - that a phone such as this can actually be MORE useful - in certain situations - than a smartphone. Basically, it's STILL "horses for courses".

Well they are using the Nokia brand here so people seeing this won't immediately think "Microsoft" when they see this phone

blerk said,
Well they are using the Nokia brand here so people seeing this won't immediately think "Microsoft" when they see this phone
Good point.

derekaw said,
Does Microsoft really want to be in this low end business? It does not seem like a good fit.

Why not? It's still a very large market especially in the 3rd world.

Why not? Microsoft is in the business of making money. This seems like a low hanging fruit, and was probably in the pipeline prior to the purchase. Also first time phone buyers will eventually move on to smart phones, there may be a good chance to up sell them.


also, more and more you will see other phone producers "rush to the bottom". The smart phone market is cluttered right, the only area for growth is in emerging markets and low end phones.

Not to mention that there are still people who outright refuse to use touch no matter what. These old phones were generally always more durable and better for what the phone is designed for: calls.

That said, this model looks ugly as hell.

That has been generally the case with basic cell phones - uglier than Original Sin, but they last longer than the Energizer Bunny. Also, SAMSUNG, despite being more known for higher-end phones, DOES have low-end phones in their lineup - look at the MVNO space in the US, or Virgin Mobile anywhere they do business.

I want one of these, dual sim... for whenever I'm going on holiday.
I don't like having a smartphone when I'm on holiday... too distracting.

Bamsebjørn said,
I want one of these, dual sim... for whenever I'm going on holiday.
I don't like having a smartphone when I'm on holiday... too distracting.

Plus not having to worry about getting to a power socket every day is a big bonus!

elenarie said,
Might get one for that price, in case of emergencies.

Was just thinking the same thing, thats an attractive device for $25 and would be good to have around in emergencies, in between smartphone purchases or when your main phone is down

Yep, not one but 2 - one for my wife. At that price it's a no brainer. I keep an old Nokia N95 around but this thing will probably last even longer and that phone has been sitting in the garage so long I don't know if it works anymore and how long will the battery last at this point...

And there IS still a demand for not-so-smartphones, even in developed markets (such as the US). The MVNO market is more than just lifeline service (which can't be ignored, either, as all the major US carriers are involved there via MVNOs), and Nokia has been a major player in the MVNO space (as has Samsung, surprisingly enough - in fact, Samsung's GSM10 is a "clone" of the Nokia Shorty). Despite the explosion in smartphones, there ARE times when you just want to make calls and send TXTs - and you don't need a smartphone for that!

As long as they sell them they'll keep making them, it's as simple as that. No need to rush to smartphone only production as long as there's a demand for dumb phones, and with the great battery life they get compared to smartphones then I can see why people would still want one of them.

At that price it'd be a nice backup phone for when/if your smartphones battery dies out on you for example.