back to article Cheap Android phones? Bah! How about a $29 mobe from Microsoft?

Microsoft has reaffirmed its commitment to the absolute bottom of the mobile market with a new, web-capable phone that will retail for just $29. In a blog post announcing the device on Monday, Microsoft described the Nokia 215 as its "most affordable internet-ready phone" – but that doesn't make it a smartphone. If you recall …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When you think they can't go any lower...

    1. Bob Vistakin
      Devil

      Nah.

      Lower would be to have branded this as a Microsoft or Windows phone. Someone there isn't that stupid - Joe public at this end takes one look at these and knows nothing about how Nokia was raped and murdered by them, so just sees this years new Nokia phone.

  2. stucs201

    Perfect second phone for music festivals and similar

    Enough battery to get through the weekend (note 29 *days* standby, not hours).

    Cheap enough to not care if its lost or stolen (and the latter seems unlikely)

    Enough internet to gloat about where you are to mates who couldn't make it.

    Camera bad enough you shouldn't be tempted to make the people behind you watch the bands through your screen.

    You'll still probably have trouble finding your tent in the dark while drunk though, even with the torch.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Perfect second phone for music festivals and similar

      Go to a festival with this and get laughed at, like wearing silly glasses.

      Seriously nobody buys lumia

      1. Elmer Phud

        Re: Perfect second phone for music festivals and similar

        Some of us don't need to take a device capable of recording at HD and paying more attention to the device than the bands we've spent an arm and a leg to see.

        Some of us just want a basic device.

        Some of us are not posers.

      2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Perfect second phone for music festivals and similar

        Apart from the people and companies who buy Lumia's

      3. Andy Nugent

        Re: Perfect second phone for music festivals and similar

        a) this isn't a Lumia.

        b) "Go to a festival with this and get laughed at"; are you 13?

      4. Vic

        Re: Perfect second phone for music festivals and similar

        Seriously nobody buys lumia

        I will.

        It's not going to displace the Android in my jacket pocket, but it'll make a decent emergency phone for the van.

        Vic.

  3. Lghost

    Dual SIM

    I suspect that dual SIM phones would be very popular everywhere, were they to be available everywhere..Where I am ( France ) they are, but from what I've read here in the past, they are not offered in many places, including the other side of the channel ?

    I'm soon to be in the market to replace 4 phones, if these go on sale here , I'll take two .

    1. VinceH

      Re: Dual SIM

      "I suspect that dual SIM phones would be very popular everywhere, were they to be available everywhere..Where I am ( France ) they are, but from what I've read here in the past, they are not offered in many places, including the other side of the channel ?"

      There are a few available here and there. I know CPC sell some, for example, and I recently set up my mother's new phone, which she got from one of those shopping TV channels - and I was surprised to see that was a dual SIM phone.

      They're only cheapo phones, though. Nothing special - though they'd suffice for most things.

    2. StripeyMiata

      Re: Dual SIM

      I have a dual sim phone, funnily enough a Nokia but a Nokia that runs Android, it's a Nokia X.

      I got it for 2 reasons, the main one is that I live in Northern Ireland and cross the border into Ireland quite often, data roaming is expensive so I pop an Irish PAYG sim into slot 2 and it takes over once I cross the border. I use Waze as my Sat Nav so need a data connection.

      Second reason is that I am on call on 1 weekend a month, so I can just pop my work sim into it so I don't have to lug two phones around over the weekend. Don't mind carrying two phones during the week as I wear a suit, but at weekends in jeans and t-shirt (depending on season).

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like a good option for a burner phone.

    I wonder will sell them by the dozen would make a decent burner phone. (Perhaps I've been watching to many episodes of burn notice lately....)

  5. thames

    They're called feature phones

    The product category is called "feature phones". There's nothing new or remarkable about this phone in terms of features or price. There are loads of them out there from many manufacturers. The phone itself is hardly newsworthy.

    So Microsoft has decided to stay in the feature phone business? It would be interesting to know the reasoning behind this. I'll take a stab at it by guessing that some major distributors or carriers were thinking about dropping Microsoft's smart phone line because there wasn't enough sales volume to make the effort of maintaining the sales relationship worth while, and keeping a feature phone in the line up help keeps a foot in the door.

    I doubt it will do anything for brand loyalty though. Nokia found out the hard way that anyone upgrading from a feature phone to a smart phone was far more likely to buy an Android phone than they were to stick with Nokia and buy a Windows phone. People at the cheap end of the market tend to be rather pragmatic about these things. It's the expensive end of the market which has the irrational rabid fan boys.

    1. Elmer Phud

      Re: They're called feature phones

      Got more features than my current el-cheapo Nokia.

      It even has a crap camera, a browser and a music player.

      1. thames

        Re: They're called feature phones

        @Elmer Phud - I don't know what''s in your current Nokia, but camera, web browser, music player, calendar, etc. have been pretty bog standard in feature phones for a while. The camera resolution is pretty typical in this price range as well. It may not win the mega-pixel wars, but it's very handy for taking shots of things and price tags while shopping instead of writing notes.

        Oh, and the battery goes forever, it fits in your pocket easily, and you won't cry if it gets broken or scratched up.

        The main reason why not a lot of people actually use the Internet with these things is because they tend to be used with low cost PAYG phone plans that don't include data, or where data is charged by the megabyte. People mainly just use then to talk and send texts.

        If you can get a cheap PAYG phone plan, then you can buy them for your kids and not have to worry too much about them getting broken or lost. They're great as "leashes" because you can always call them (or send a text) to ask "where are you and why aren't you home yet?"

        1. MacroRodent Silver badge

          Re: They're called feature phones

          They're great as "leashes" because you can always call them (or send a text) to ask "where are you and why aren't you home yet?"

          On the other hand, they don't support "leash apps" like dondeEsta (which allows you to text a phone, and it automatically sends back its current location).

    2. Arctic fox
      Headmaster

      @thames Re: ".....than they were to stick with Nokia and buy a Windows phone."

      They had already found out that punters upgrading from a feature phone to a smartphone were far more likely to buy an Android phone than a Symbian phone, a situation that led to Android overtaking Symbian by the end of 2010.* This situation was the result of several years of very poor decisions taken by Nokia senior management combined with a very destructive internal turf-war between the Symbianista and the Meegoites over the future of Nokia's proprietary OS. The incompetence of Nokia's senior management had to all intents and purposes sealed the fate of the company's phone division long before any of the original conversations with Redmond took place.

      *I myself upgraded during that period from a Nokia feature phone to the original HTC Wildfire, my first ever smartphone.

  6. jjcoolaus

    No 3G? Useless in some parts of the world...

    ...which are moving to shut down 2G services.

    Telstra in Australia is doing it by December 2016, AT&T in the States will have it done by 2020, and there are rumours about many others.

    Do yourself a favour and pay the extra $20 for a 3G device.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No 3G? Useless in some parts of the world...

      Is it aimed at Austrialia? No.

      Main area is emerging markets, such as Africa.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No 3G? Useless in some parts of the world...

        "Main area is emerging markets, such as Africa."

        So they hope. But there's two problems:

        Firstly that all emerging markets have seen what you can get for $30 from a Chinese no name, and by any reckoning if you choose well you'd have something equivalent to the first or second generation iPhone or a Nokia 5800. Evidence the world over suggests that the lower battery life of a smartphone is something the vast majority of users will tolerate for the extended capabilities. And even off grid, developing markets have credible options like small, simple PV trickle chargers that are next to useless in frigid and sunless northern climes.

        Secondly, in their desire to keep the name Microsoft "exclusive" (hah!) they've created a situation where even if this new cheapy phone is a success, there's no brand upgrade path. Microsoft must have a special strategy department dedicated to snatching defeat from the jaws of any potential victory.

        1. MacroRodent Silver badge

          Re: No 3G? Useless in some parts of the world...

          Secondly, in their desire to keep the name Microsoft "exclusive" (hah!) they've created a situation where even if this new cheapy phone is a success, there's no brand upgrade path. Microsoft must have a special strategy department dedicated to snatching defeat from the jaws of any potential victory.

          Indeed, Microsoft is looking more and more like Nokia did in its last mobile phone years...

          Here's a free idea for Microsoft: Reintroduce WP 7 for the low-end phone range. By today's standards, WP 7 is quite frugal with hardware, so it should work well on cheap phones, but yet allows a smooth upgrade path to phones with a newer WP.

    2. Andy Miller

      Re: No 3G? Useless in some parts of the world...

      Closer to home (the UK in my case), 3 only support 3G phones. If it worked on 3 I'd buy one for festivals and walking holidays.

  7. Christian Berger

    Now if they would solve those little software problems

    e.g. that you cannot suspend your device while you are in a Java App, those would _really_ be useful.

  8. Tommy Pock

    India's the target market

    But India wants Java on its featurephones. This doesn't support Java apps. Useless.

  9. Sean OConnor

    Looks like a perfect phone for me and I might go get one!

    I'm sat in front of a computer all day at work so I've got a nice big screen for all my internetty needs, and iPads and laptops at home for the rest of the day. All I want from a mobile phone is a phone, something that fits easily in my pocket and a battery that can last at least a week when I go on a holiday.

    And just $29 ?!?!?!? Amazing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "And just $29 ?!?!?!? Amazing."

      Where have you been for the past few years?

      If you want a basic Nokia phone for voice calls then they were cheap as chips long before this - for example, if available in your market look at the Nokia 106, currently being sold for £9 (brand new, major retailer) in the UK. That's less than $14.

      If you're not hung up on Nokia, then an Alcatel 10.10 will set you back £5 from the same retailer, less than $8.

      1. Sean OConnor

        I currently use a cheapo Nokia phone (no idea what model). This one just looks way better.

  10. auburnman

    I can see the potential for phones and mobile internet diverging again for some users - snap up an old school 'dumb' phone like this one if days of standby are important to you, and a small tablet or smartphone for your internet needs. With them separate you can hammer the battery on the internet device and not worry about losing your communication capacity.

  11. JeffyPoooh
    Pint

    Black Friday

    Win Blu Jr. A cheap Win 8 Phone phone.

    $49 Cdn delivered.

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