Yesterday Nokia announced the Nokia 220. It’s in every possible way a dumbphone. It has an 2.4-inch screen, with a resolution of 320 by 240 pixels and a 2 megapixel camera. It only works using a 2G connection and has a battery-life of 30 days.
However, there’s one aspect making this Nokia phone incredibly interesting: it has apps. Besides the “six high-quality Gameloft games” as Nokia puts it, the phone comes pre-installed with a Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter app.
The Nokia is aimed at users in developing markets. This becomes clear looking at the dual sim feature for instance. Most developing markets don’t have very reliable carrier coverage, meaning one can have great connectivity at one side of the city, but poor or even no signal at the other side of the city. That’s why people in developing markets buy two phones or a dual sim phone, to stay connected.
I however think this phone won’t be bringing in boatloads of customers in the developing countries only. The apps, combined with the 30 day battery-life could become the phone Nokia has been looking for for a long time for Western markets as well. One that sells as crazy as their old phones did, like the Nokia 8210.
As a tablet companion
Tablets are getting increasingly more portable, due to lighter and smaller formfactors. I think it wouldn’t be weird to see people ditching their smartphone and buy a tablet and a Nokia 220 instead. The tablet will be their main consumption device, and the Nokia 220 can be used for calling and messaging.
As a matter of fact, I considered this option before buying my iPhone 5. The only reason I didn’t go for it was that I would be missing Whatsapp, which is the my friends and family stay in contact. With the addition of Whatsapp on the Nokia 220 this problem would be solved.
As a back-up
Because Whatsapp was missing on dumbphones, I bought myself an iPhone 5. I however think I will still buy a Nokia 220. I’m often worried while travelling my iPhone’s battery dies and I can’t contact anyone. (the battery lasts almost two days, but dies in the second evening) Adding a Nokia 220 to my everyday carriage in my bag would solve this problem perfectly.
Nokia wasn’t worried about the competition of smartphones at all when they were released, because Nokia phones were selling just as well. Now they are behind in the smartphone race, but I’m confident this new phone will help them gaine a piece of their marketshare back.