Microsoft has announced its entry-level Nokia 215, a device with the lofty aspiration of bringing the wonders of the World Wide Web to upwards of a billion people who haven’t joined the digital revolution.
The device, which will cost around £30, comes with all the essentials, like Facebook and Messenger, Bing Search, Twitter and Opera Mini, and also gives users access to MSN Weather.
Hardware-wise the device is solid, which is no great surprise given its pedigree, but otherwise unremarkable. It comes in three colours – white, black and green and also offers a VGA camera, microSD slot, FM radio and MP3 player which is good for 50 hours of playback on a single charge.
With support for only 2G networks the 215 isn’t going to win any awards for speed, but it’ll suit those looking for a leg-up in the digital stakes, and those in emerging markets who need a robust, reliable phone with basic internet capabilities.
There’s a dual-SIM variant on offer too, which should suit those who rely on their phone for work and with a battery life of up to 29 days (21 days for the dual-SIM version), users won’t have to worry about being permanently tied to a power source to keep their device fully charged.
Jo Harlow, corporate vice president of Microsoft Devices Group, said “With our ultra-affordable mobile phones and digital services, we see an inspiring opportunity to connect the next billion people to the Internet for the first time.”
‘The next billion’ is something Nokia and subsequently Microsoft have been talking about for years. Whilst there’s still a notable price gap between the company’s Nokia feature phones and Lumia smartphones, it is narrowing and we’re hoping that newcomers to the connected world will soon be able to reach loftier height than 2G data speeds and a physical keypad without spending a penny extra.
The device is set to launch within the current quarter and will be initially rolled out in the Middle East, Africa and Asia before hitting Europe and the rest of the world.