Phones

Why, yes, the Nokia 216 phone is from Microsoft

Microsoft's sale of its feature phone business isn't a done deal just yet.

The Nokia 216 feature phone.

Microsoft

In mid-May, Microsoft announced it would sell off its feature phone business. Yet on September 20, it launched yet another Nokia-branded feature phone.

What gives?

When Microsoft announced the $350 million sale of the feature phone business to FIH Mobile, a subsidiary of Foxconn, it noted that the deal would be subject to regulatory approvals and closing conditions.

That deal has not yet closed. Microsoft reiterated Tuesday that the expected timing continues to be the second half of calendar 2016.

"Until the closing of the transaction," a company spokesperson said Tuesday, "Microsoft continues to run the feature phone business."

That is, the same way that LinkedIn bought PointDrive after Microsoft announced its intentions to purchase LinkedIn, but before the deal has been finalized and approved, it's business as usual.

The newest Microsoft handset, the Nokia 216 (which I found thanks to a post by Tom Warren), offers front- and rear-facing cameras; the ability to store up to 2,000 contacts; and a 2.4-inch QVGA screen. It ships with the Opera Mini Browser and allows users to download apps and games through the Opera Mobile Store.

Microsoft's mobile phone strategy, at this point, seems to be to continue to sell its Lumia 950 and 950 XL handsets to anyone who still wants the year-old phones. The company is continuing to develop and enhance the Windows 10 Mobile phone operating system and offer it to manufacturing partners.

The company is still rumored to be considering launching a new Surface-branded phone some time in 2017, though my sources recently said that the company could even opt to wait until 2018 to do so.

This story originally appeared at ZDNet under the headline "Microsoft launches a new Nokia feature phone." It has been condensed here.