Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 17th Jul 2014 17:17 UTC

This news will probably fall through the cracks in most reporting about Microsoft's massive layoffs, but aside from the Nokia X, Microsoft is also killing off Series 40 and Asha.

Nokia might have been famous for its feature phones, but Microsoft is planning to wind that business down over the course of the next 18 months. In an internal memo sent to Microsoft employees, Jo Harlow, who heads up the phone business under Microsoft devices, reveals the focus is very much on Windows Phone. Development and investment for Asha, Series 40, and Nokia X handsets will shift to what is described as "maintenance mode," and services to support existing devices will be shut down over the next 18 months. "This means there will be no new features or updates to services on any mobile phones platform as a result of these plans," says Harlow, in the internal memo seen by The Verge.

The story of Series 40 started in 1999 with the iconic Nokia 7110, and it will now end with the Nokia Asha 210 (I think?), or the Nokia Asha 230 if you consider the Asha Software Platform to be Series 40 (nobody really seems to know for sure just how related the two are). In 2012 Nokia announced it had sold over 1.5 billion Series 40 devices, making it one of the most successful software platforms of all time.

It makes sense for Microsoft to kill these platforms. Windows Phone handles devices with lower specifications relatively well, something which the company will hopefully only improve. It does mean the end of an iconic operating system that is intrinsically tied to Nokia, a company who spread the mobile phone and its infrastructure to all four corners in the world, paving the way for pompous phone upstarts like Apple and Google.

One small tidbit I will always associate with Series 40 and Nokia are the signal reception and battery life bars flanking the sides of the early Series 40 user interface like the pillars of the Parthenon. Beautifully elegant and clever use of the limited screen real estate available at the time.

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Comment by DavidCollins
by DavidCollins on Thu 17th Jul 2014 18:18 UTC
Member since:

This is so disapointing. Series 40 was my favourite Mobile OS, it just did what was needed. Asha seemed to show it was developing in interesting directions, now this...

Anyone recommend a good Asha phone?

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by DavidCollins
by Kivada on Fri 18th Jul 2014 03:55 in reply to "Comment by DavidCollins"
Kivada Member since:

This is so disapointing. Series 40 was my favourite Mobile OS, it just did what was needed. Asha seemed to show it was developing in interesting directions, now this...

Anyone recommend a good Asha phone?

Yeah but the feature phone market is where Mozilla and Jolla are going to be targeting. Theres already a $25 FirefoxOS phone.

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[2]: Comment by DavidCollins
by japh on Fri 18th Jul 2014 12:36 in reply to "RE: Comment by DavidCollins"
japh Member since:

The jolla phone isn't really that cheap (especially not with those specs). Where did you get information about jolla focusing on that part of the market?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Comment by DavidCollins
by Shinto on Fri 18th Jul 2014 22:05 in reply to "Comment by DavidCollins"
Shinto Member since:

We live in an area with marginal cell phone coverage, and nothing pulls in the signal like a Nokia. It's a measurable difference, and I've since given up on buying anything else.

Not everybody wants a smartphone. My wife has no interest in apps, a data plan, a big screen with a virtual keyboard, or a battery that requires a recharge every day or two. So when I recently went looking for a replacement phone for her, I settled on a bright red Asha 303. It fits the bill with its diminutive physical size, actual QWERTY keyboard, good build quality, and solid battery life. And most importantly, it has enough signal strength to keep her calls connected wherever she might roam.

You can't search or sort the phonebook by first name, which is annoying, but other than that, it has been a great device.

I knew Nokia would never again make anything as nifty as my N9, and I guess it was just a matter of time before Microsoft killed off the feature phones, too. It's sad to see them go.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Comment by DavidCollins
by joekiser on Sat 19th Jul 2014 16:18 in reply to "Comment by DavidCollins"
joekiser Member since:

Anyone recommend a good Asha phone?

I thought that Asha was developing at a better pace than Windows Phone for a long time. This was coming from a Nokia C3-00 which we both used for two years, to an Asha 311, which I gave up last summer. I still recommend that phone with its small size and Gorilla Glass display at around $100 USD, but the writing was on the wall.

Another good device is the Nokia 515, although it is a traditional S40 device and does not have any of the Asha improvements. I had one for about two months, very solidly built, but I recommend you get the white one because the black one showed wear on the keypad too easily.

Reply Parent Score: 1