Microsoft's new Nokia phone costs $29—here's why

Microsoft's new Nokia phone—which costs a lowly $29—might not be groundbreaking to consumers used to working, browsing and shopping on their smartphones. But that's totally fine with Microsoft.

The giant tech company, which bought Nokia eight months ago, says the Nokia 215 phone is perfectly suited for first-time smartphone buyers or as a secondary phone for just about anyone. The entry-level phone costs just $29 and it's Internet ready. Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft unveiled the phone early Monday.

What's more, analysts say the cheap phone could help Microsoft gain market share in emerging markets, where millions of consumers are connecting to the mobile Web for the first time.

Nokia 215
Source: Microsoft
Nokia 215

"The Nokia 215 reinforces Nokia's traditional foothold in emerging markets, and gives Microsoft a vehicle to touch hundreds of millions of newly connecting consumers," said Ed Maguire, managing director and senior analyst at CLSA.

The 2G phone can run apps like Facebook, Twitter, Bing Search, MSN Weather and Opera Mini browser. It also comes with 29 days of standby battery life. The phone won't have any Office apps, however.

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The Nokia 215 can also pair with a Bluetooth headset or speaker.

"We view it as a smart strategy in the low end for emerging markets as Microsoft needs to gain share in this market at any cost," said Daniel Ives, managing director and senior analyst at FBR Capital Markets. "It's part of a focused strategy to aggressively go after consumers in emerging markets as Microsoft and [Satya] Nadella have a lot riding on the Nokia acquisition and potential success on the fertile smartphone opportunity."

The Nokia 215 will be available in the first quarter of 2015 in emerging markets in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.