The Nokia 130. Photo: AFP
We may be living in the age of the smartphone, but the feature phone refuses to go without a fight. Over 300,000 sub-€35 handsets are still snapped up every year, be it by consumers taking their first step towards mobile communication or by smartphone power users who want a reliable back-up device that can be used for calls when their handset's battery inevitably dies halfway through the day.
Microsoft's latest budget phone, the Nokia 130, launched Monday, wants to be the iPhone or at least the iPod of the affordable feature phone world.
Ok it doesn't have a touch screen, wi-fi or a camera. But it does have an integrated MP3 player and an FM radio, it supports video playback -- a very rare feature in this category -- and it will cost just €19 when it goes on sale.
It also supports Micro SD cards so it can hold up to 32GB of songs and video clips and, because it's a feature phone and therefore sips rather than gulps power, it can offer 46 hours of music playback or 16 hours of video on a single charge. Try doing that with any smartphone currently available.
This superior battery life is also why Microsoft is making a concerted effort to aim the Nokia 130 at smartphone owners as well as first-time phone buyers. If not used and simply left on standby, the single SIM card version can sit at the bottom of a bag for 36 days before the battery needs topping up. So, great for emergencies.
The Nokia 130 will go on sale in the third quarter of 2014 and will be initially available in China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and Vietnam.