Microsoft unveils Nokia 216, potential swan song to iconic brand name
When Microsoft bought Nokia in 2014, it brought a dying captain onto a burning ship (or should we say, platform.) Nokia, once the leader in mobile phone sales, was on a downward spiral into irrelevance only helped out by its unflinching loyalty to Microsoft’s immature and unproven Windows operating system.
Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia only confirmed to the hopeful that the Finnish company’s well-made and innovative hardware would never be coupled with a more developed OS. Microsoft has gone on to release a number of phones under the Nokia and Lumia names, none of which have gained a following anywhere near the likes of a Galaxy or iPhone.
Now, Microsoft has unveiled the Nokia 216 feature phone, in what appears to be a swan song to the company. In an announcement this morning, the software giant announced its intentions to continue selling phones under the Nokia name despite announcing plans to sell its feature phone business to FIH Mobile for $350 million earlier this year.
Perhaps a tribute to the Nokia of old, the new Nokia 216 is one of the most basic offerings Microsoft sells. It will be available in India next month for around $37. The device includes a 2.4-inch QVGA display, with 0.3-megapixel cameras at the front and rear, running on the Series 30 OS with the Opera mini browser.
It bests the newest of iPhones in one respect: it includes a headphone jack.
While Microsoft’s flagship phones have failed to find footing an the highly competitive mobile industry, the company continues to sells millions of low-budget feature phones. Microsoft hinted earlier this year that it’s planning to kill off its Lumia smartphones, and recent rumors have suggested that the Lumia brand will die off toward the end of the year.
According to Know your Mobile, HMD, the Finnish company founded from part of Microsoft’s feature phone business (formerly Nokia), announced its intentions to release Android phones in 2016, under the Nokia name. Here is a statement from HMD:
“HMD has been founded to provide a focused, independent home for a full range of Nokia-branded feature phones, smartphones and tablets. To complete its portfolio of Nokia branding rights, HMD announced today that it has conditionally agreed to acquire from Microsoft the rights to use the Nokia brand on feature phones, and certain related design rights. The Microsoft transaction is expected to close in H2 2016. Together these agreements would make HMD the sole global licensee for all types of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets. HMD intends to invest over USD 500 million over the next three years to support the global marketing of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets, funded via its investors and profits from the acquired feature phone business.”
Rumors suggest Microsoft is planning a Surface-branded phone for next year. The Windows Phone market share has declined since the company’s mobile restructuring last year. Microsoft has significantly scaled back its phone business, and laid off thousands of employees as part of a $7.6 billion write off for acquiring Nokia’s phone business.