Alongwith Lumia 800 and Lumia 710 smartphones, Nokia also unveiled enhanced basic phones called Asha – meaning hope in Hindi – aimed at emerging markets of India, Africa and Latin America, and having web surfing capabilities similar to that of smartphones.
The line is blurring between smartphones and basic mobile devices. There is multiple customization home screens, very similar to a lot of smartphones, said Stephen Elop, chief executive, Nokia during the launch of Nokia Asha. The handset maker said the Asha range of phones would help it target the next one billion consumers to go online as only about 30% of the world’s population had access to the internet. With the Asha family of smartphones, Nokia aims to bring to market high quality devices that focus on today’s fast paced society, providing easy access to social networks, internet and information. With the Asha family, the goal is to bring to users a perfect blend of smartphone and feature phone or the best of two worlds.
Nokia Asha family will have 4 versions of mobile phones, with the 200 series being a perfect starter phone for younger users. The 303 and 301 models, although both featuring a 1GHz processor, differ in keyboard layout (the 303 offers a QWERTY style), memory and camera quality, and while the 303 has a slightly larger screen the cheaper 300 actually has a better 5MP camera and slightly more internal memory (although insignificant).
Aimed at a younger audience the 200 and 201 are almost identical, with the only difference being the 200 has dual-sim function with a hot swap feature while the other model is a single sim. Despite being simple in design, which is perfect for young users, the phones are jam packed with features, such as high speed internet ability, a high powered speaker for those bass packed tunes and most impressively a battery that can handle 52 hours of music playback.
Availability And Cost Of Nokia Asha Phones
The Nokia Asha series of four handsets – 200, 201, 300 and 303 – are priced between 60 Euros (approx Rs. 4100) and 115 Euros (approx Rs. 8000) and will be shipped between the year end and early 2012.
Asha range of basic phones could have a bigger impact on the company in the short-term as 60% of its business comes from non-smartphones. Nokia has dumped rival browsers in its basic handsets and has installed its own browser that it claims can compress web commands by 90% speeding up internet access on 2G network.