Microsoft surprised everybody by announcing what's probably its last Nokia phone

Microsoft lumia 216MicrosoftMicrosoft Lumia 216

Microsoft may be in the process of selling its feature phone (as in, not smartphone) business to Foxconn, but that apparently hasn’t gotten in the way of the launch of the new Nokia 216 — making it likely the last Microsoft-made Nokia phone ever.

The Nokia 216, a super basic phone with a pair of lousy 0.3 megapixel cameras, a web browser, a 24-day battery(!) and not much else, isn’t going to distract people away from the iPhone 7, nor is it meant to.

Instead, it’s a last-minute play for developing nations like India, where smartphones are only still building up momentum, and where Microsoft has historically had its only real successes in the phone market. Instead of any of the Windows phone operating systems, it’s a stripped-down, more old-school interface.

As the Verge’s Tom Warren points out, the point of Microsoft’s feature phone business was to get people to sign up for a Microsoft account, which would then act as kind of an on-ramp into their whole wide world.

Microsoft nokia 210Microsoft/ScreenshotThe Microsoft Nokia 210 and its specs.

From there, it would act as kind of a gateway, ideally resulting in customers moving up to Windows 10 Mobile smartphones like the Lumia 950.

Well, that didn’t really happen, and analysts expect Microsoft’s overall smartphone share to hit 0.5% by the end of 2016. The Microsoft Lumia brand recently got its swan song in the form of the Lumia 650. And Microsoft’s rumoured “Surface Phone,” its last great hope to make a dent in the smartphone market, isn’t expected to drop until the middle of 2017.

So say farewell to the era of Nokia phones from Microsoft, and get ready for a long wait before the next — and possibly final — act for Windows on phones.

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