Nokia today unveiled the first of a new family of Asha smartphones with the introduction of the Nokia Asha 501. This is the first handset to feature the Asha patform, a new software for Asha devices designed to bring the functions of cheaper phones closer to higher-end ones.
The Nokia Asha 501 is available in a choice of six colours. It comes in two parts: a durable, removable casing and the scratch-resistant glass display, which features a three-inch, capacitive touchscreen and a single 'back' button.
The phone, which weighs only 98 grams, is built to make it easier for people to access everything with a simple swipe and a choice of two main screens: Home and Fastlane. Home is a traditional, icon-based view for launching individual apps or accessing a specific feature, like the dialler or phone settings. The new Fastlane view was inspired by how people really use their phone. Recently accessed contacts, social networks and apps are stored and presented in Fastlane. It provides a record of how the phone is used, giving people a glimpse of their past, present and future activity, and helping them multi-task by providing easy access to their favorite features.
The new Asha comes with Nokia Xpress Browser pre-loaded, which compresses Internet data by up to 90%. This is aimed at making mobile browsing faster and more affordable. Nokia also announced the availability of Nokia Xpress Now, a new Web application that recommends content based on location, preferences and trending topics. It will be available via the Browser homepage or as a download from Nokia Store.
Straight out of the box, there will be Facebook, Twitter, instant messaging and Weather Channel apps installed, together with premium games from Gameloft, such as Big Little City and Real Football 2013.
There?s also the now-legendary offer of 40 Free EA Games for you to download and keep forever from the Nokia Store.
The Asha 501 will be the first Nokia device at such a low price point to use a micro-SIM. Furthermore, it will come in a single-SIM variant and a Dual-SIM version with Nokia's Easy-Swap SIM technology, which allows people to switch SIM cards without having to power off the device.
The phone features a 3.2-megapixel camera, WiFi, a lock screen with a glanceable clock and the 3-inch capacitive screen is made out of hardened glass. There's 4GB of internal memory and support for a micro-SD card up to 32GB.
The battery life offers an incredible 48 days in standby and 17 hours of talk time.
The new Asha platform provides developers with an open, standards-based environment for creating apps. Developers can create apps for the Nokia Asha 501 that will be compatible with future Asha platform-based devices. Nokia gives developers the chance to make more money through the global reach of Nokia Store and tools like Nokia In-App Payment and Nokia Advertising Exchange (NAX), as well as Nokia's operator billing network.
Many applications are already available or in development for the Nokia Asha platform, including CNN, eBuddy, ESPN, Facebook, Foursquare, Line, LinkedIn, Nimbuzz, Pictelligent, The Weather Channel, Twitter, WeChat, World of Red Bull and games from Electronic Arts, Gameloft, Indiagames, Namco-Bandai and Reliance Games.
The HERE experience, based on Nokia's location-based platform, will also be available as a download for the Nokia Asha 501, starting in Q3 2013 and will initially include basic mapping services.
The Nokia Asha 501 is expected to start shipping in June 2013. It will cost $99 before taxes and subsidies and is expected to be available through approximately 60 operators and distributors in more than 90 countries worldwide.
Nokia, Facebook and mobile network operator Airtel announced they have joined forces to offer data-free access to the standalone Facebook app, as well as the mobile site m.facebook.com. By the end of second quarter, current Airtel subscribers in Africa and India will be able to enjoy unlimited, data-free access to Facebook from their Nokia Asha 501 for a limited period of time.
Telkomsel will provide a specific Nokia Telkomsel Asha data plan that offers up to 500 MB of data use and includes 60 minutes of calls and 60 SMS. The company will also provide a one month free data plan to consumers using Nokia Asha 501 that can be used for all mobile Internet activities including access to Facebook or downloading apps.
MTN, a leading operator across Africa, said it will also offer the Nokia Asha 501 and ease access to Facebook.
- Dimensions: 99.2 x 58 x 12.1 mm; 98 grams
- Weight: Single SIM: 98g / Dual SIM 98.2g
- Camera: 3.2 MP
- Single SIM standby time: up to 48 days
- Dual SIM standby time: up to 26 days
- System: GSM 900/1800 + WLAN; GSM 850/1900 + WLAN
- User Interface: Nokia Asha Platform
- Display: 3.0" QVGA TFT Capacitive Display
- Memory: 128 MB Flash, 4 GB MMC included expandable up to 32GB
- Connectivity: Micro USB connector and charging, 3.5 mm AV jack, 2 mm Charger connector
- Standby time: Up to 48 days (Dual SIM standby time: up to 26 days)
- Talk time: Up to 17 hours (all variants)
- Forty free EA Games worth ?75 downloadable from Nokia Store
- Available colours: Bright Red, Bright Green, Cyan, Yellow, White and Black