Microsoft’s Device Strategy ‘Disjointed’: Nokia X Back From the Dead?

By Craig Galbraith Comments
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**Editor's Note: Click here for our list of July’s hottest selling smartphones to see how Nokia handsets fared against the competition.**

It was just last month that Microsoft appeared ready to dump its Asha lineup of low-end smartphones, sending the Nokia X series – which runs on a forked version of Android – to an early grave. (The second-generation X only debuted this summer.)

But with the unveiling this week of the Nokia 130, the Redmond, Washington-based software giant is sending mixed signals. The 130 can’t connect to the Internet, but it’s capable of playing digital music and movies, and FM radio. It will sell for €19 (US$25).

Last month, Microsoft signaled that it intended to focus exclusively on the high end of the mobile phone business by cutting Nokia’s Asha lineup of devices and all but abandoning the Nokia X, which ran a forked version of Android. But the company is going back on those moves as it recently introduced the Nokia 130 phone.

Suggesting that Microsoft is still committed to the low end of the handset market, VP Jo Harlow told Re/Code, “Microsoft doesn’t have any other project that can reach these consumers."  

“Despite the brave words, we frankly still don’t know what this means," noted 451 Research senior VP Wally Swain. “Was this simply a device so far down the pipeline that it might as well come out? Has the former Nokia not lost its ability to plow forward with projects and appear to catch senior executives by surprise? Was the Nokia X press release poorly written? Did we all misread it? Did the accumulated reaction of analysts and press make Microsoft reconsider? We really won’t know until we see – or don’t see – the next low end device. For now, it seems disjointed to have very low priced and very high priced devices (from an emerging markets perspective) with nothing in between."

Microsoft closed on its $7.2 billion acquisition Nokia’s devices unit in April.

Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

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