Microsoft announces new super cheap phone aimed at first-time buyers

Microsoft keeps a toe in the cheap mobile phone market with the release of the Nokia 130 - but is a phone without internet capabilities going to sell?

Microsoft has announced a new low cost mobile just months after plans to do away with several of its other cheap handsets were leaked.

The Nokia 130 is being marketed as "your portable video and music player" and comes in at the unbelievably cheap prices of £15.

The downside? Well, this phone doesn't connect to the internet - so no emails, Facebook, maps or even the opportunity to check the weather forecast. It does, however, have a flashlight. Phew.

Hot on the heels of the Karbonn A50s - the crazy-cheap smartphone released in India last month - the Nokia 130 is firmly targeted at the low wage earners in emerging markets in countries such as China, India, Kenya and the Philippines. There are no plans to release it in the UK.

Jo Harlow, head of Microsoft's phones business told the BBC: "This is a massive market segment, and there are not a lot of players in this segment for the reason that scale is really important.

"We have the distribution and supply chain scale to compete effectively in this market. This is a space where smartphones today don't reach, so there are still very strong benefits to our business."

In short, there is not a lot of profit made on each phone, so Microsoft have to sell a load of them to make it worth it's while financially.

However, as Microsoft estimates that at least one billion people in the world still do not have a mobile phone, those high sales figures are entirely possible.

Microsoft also believes that there is increasing demand for reliable backup phones in mature and high-growth markets.

So, if you are looking for a cheap festival phone or an ok-to-lose/break/have stolen holiday phone, maybe it's worth the fees to get a Nokia 130 shipped from one of the countries in which it will be on sale.

Or maybe it's worth stumping up a little more for a web-connected device. After all, if you can't Facebook-gloat on your hols, what's the point?

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