​Microsoft releases the Nokia 215, its $29 'internet phone'

Microsoft has kicked off 2015 with its cheapest-ever feature phone with internet connectivity.

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The Nokia 215. Image: Microsoft

Microsoft has launched the Nokia 215, its cheapest internet-ready feature phone yet.

The move shows the company isn't abandoning feature phones carrying the Nokia brand, despite recently dropping the brand name for its smartphone line.

The Nokia 215 is the latest member of Microsoft's Series 30+ feature-phone family. The device arrives with a few smartphone characteristics - plus the trademark Lumia bright green colour scheme - and is both far less capable and much cheaper than any of Microsoft's Windows Phone handsets.

Feature-wise, the Nokia 215 isn't dramatically different to last year's Nokia 225 except for its price tag. The new phone costs just $29 before taxes and subsidies - compared to the 225's $54 price. As with Microsoft's other basic and feature phones, the 215 is aimed at first-time mobile phone buyers or people who want a second phone.

The 2G device comes with Facebook, Messenger, Bing Search, Twitter, and the Opera Mini browser pre-installed. Unlike the Lumia smartphones, the 215 has no additional Drive cloud storage or Office apps, but it does have microSD support up to 32GB. The 215 also features a 2.4-inch QVGA LCD display at 320 by 240 pixels, 8MB of RAM, Bluetooth 3.0, and FM radio. Its single, front-facing camera has a 0.3 megapixel sensor.

The single SIM edition has a standby time of 29 days while the dual-SIM model will last up to 21 days on standby. Both editions will be available in Lumia-like bright green, black, and white.

Microsoft will launch the Nokia 215 in the first quarter of this year, starting with countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

While the Nokia 215 probably won't win any awards for cutting-edge design, it fits in with Microsoft's recent focus on the low end of the phone market. With devices like the 215, as well as smartphones such as the low-cost Lumia 530, the company is hoping to target the extra billion people expected to get internet access for the first time by 2017.

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