As in launched its phone business, Microsoft became quickly enamored by the Nokia brand. It made use of the Finnish company’s reputation to launch a line of Windows Phones that experienced some degree of success.
However, new reports suggest that a phone with a Windows Phone-like interface was once planned under the Microsoft brand. Windows Central’s Zac Bowden has managed to get his hands on a previously known feature phone prototype called the RM-1182.
Its UI looks a lot like the Lumia interface we’ve become accustomed to. Not the initial variants, but Microsoft’s 2015 Windows Mobile design language. There are live tiles, account integration and more, attached to a traditional alphanumeric keyboard.
— Zac Bowden (@zacbowden) December 20, 2018
The HMD Global Sale
Inside is pretty average feature phone hardware, with a 1200 mAH battery, 2.5-inch display, and a 1.92 MP back camera. However, it seems likely that Microsoft was planning to release a suite of feature phones under its brand, and Lumia under Nokia’s.
It seems the prototype came at the wrong point as the company began scaling back its mobile efforts and when its feature phones were outselling its smart ones. We’ll sadly never know a name other than the RM-1182 product number discovered in 2016.
However, it’s worth noting that Microsoft did release feature phones past 2015, even as it was poised to sell its feature phone business to HMD Global. The Nokia 216 was its last feature phone device with a very similar design but a generic UI skin.
Since then, HMD Global has continued to release Nokia branded feature phones, which perform well in developing markets. As well as the more modern Nokia 8110 4G, it released a remake of the classic Nokia 3310.