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July 14, 2015

A phone for two markets: inside the new Nokia 105

Since its launch in 2013, the original Nokia 105 has sold at a rate of 100 a minute. In a film shot at our London Design Lab, Peter Griffith, Head of Microsoft Phones Design, explains how rethinking the mobile phone has made the Nokia 105 a winner with entry-level consumers and smartphone owners too.

If you thought “traditional” mobile phones would be rendered obsolete by the arrival of smartphone technology, the launch of the updated Nokia 105 this summer may surprise you. Microsoft’s “$20 phone” is very much alive and kicking.

In two years, over 80 million Nokia 105s have been sold, not just to “entry-level” consumers in emerging markets but in increasing numbers across mature economies too.


The new Nokia 105 – refreshed by a new design and equipped with space for 2000 contacts and 35-days of standby battery life – caters for the European appetite for mobile phones as well as buoyant demand in Asia and Africa.

The design that made the Nokia 105 a winner is examined in an interview filmed at our London Design Lab with Peter Griffith, Head of Microsoft Phones Design.

The concept was simple: “We wanted to take all the qualities of a Lumia and build them into the Nokia 105. And we wanted to combine that with things like this astonishing battery life and the torchlight that we knew were relevant to people in emerging economies,” says Peter. “The big challenge was, could we hit the $20 price point without compromising on quality?”

The key ingredients of the design – a hardwearing colored shell, durably constructed with water- and dust-proofing – are all highlighted as we watch Peter deconstruct the phone piece by piece.

“We’ve designed it so that it’s simple to disassemble’ he explains. ‘The internal components can be taken apart so the whole thing can be cleaned and parts replaced if necessary.”

It seems the practicality, toughness and affordability that make Nokia 105 an essential life tool in emerging markets also account for its growing success in Europe.


“People are seeing it as a companion to a smartphone but also when they’re heading to the beach or to a music festival as the perfect device to take with them,” Peter explains.

“It’s a trend that proves that people’s changing needs and behaviors – the way they make our design their own – are often the surprise ingredient in the success of a product.”

The new Nokia 105 is available as a Single SIM and a Dual SIM variant.