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JAKARTA, Indonesia – The Nokia 1280 doesn’t look unusual, but it certainly is unique and quite special. This time last year we brought you news of the Nokia 1202 for India, a 25 Euro phone that sparked a heap of great comments when we first unveiled it at the tail end of 2008. Now, today sees the launch of a device that shaves 20 percent off that price tag, with the announcement of the first 20 Euro handset in the form of the Nokia 1280 – Nokia’s cheapest ever phone. One stride closer to the reality of a 5 Euro phone? The concept doesn’t seem so far fetched. Read on to find out more about the new 1280, and scribble down your thoughts in the comments section below.

The new Nokia 1280 is a device perched at the absolute opposite side of the playing field to the Nokia N900 in terms of high-end functionality and performance, but that certainly doesn’t mean it warrants any less attention or kudos. See, I have a serious soft spot for what this device stands for and what it means – it’s a fresh-faced pioneer in terms of showing how low the price of a handset can go without sacrificing basic quality, performance and functionality. That’s no mean feat of engineering, or ambition for that matter, don’t you think? We need handsets like the 1280, as they push our expectations and drive performance and value benchmarks in an entirely different fashion.

The 1280 has been built to meet the needs of folk in remote and rural areas. In environments such as this, phone sharing is extremely common and necessary, so the new Nokia 1280 features five separate phone books, designed specifically so five different people can comfortably use it (first seen on the Nokia 1202) – split that 20 Euros between five members of a community and it becomes a 4 Euro device of sorts. I think that’s pretty incredible when you think about it in those terms.

Highly dust resistant and scratch resistant with a robust keyboard, the 1280 has been designed with longevity in mind. The same can be said on the battery life front, with up to 22 days of standby time and 8.5 hours of talk time – invaluable in communities where gaining access to electricity can often mean traveling to the nearest town many miles away.

Other key features include a torch, again a significantly valuable tool in areas without electricity, speaking clock with alarm, hands-free calling and FM radio support. Style hasn’t been left out of the equation though, as the 1280 features changeable colour covers and loud MP3 grade ringtones.

It will launch in certain markets with Nokia Life Tools pre-loaded.

The Nokia 1280 is slated to launch in the first quarter of 2010 for 20 Euros.

Let us know your thoughts on the cheapest Nokia phone yet.