Nokia introduces the Asha 501
Budget handset seeks to ‘reinvent’ affordable category
Nokia today unveiled the first of a new family of Asha smartphones with the introduction of the Nokia Asha 501.
The 501 is the first device to run on the new Asha platform, which is designed to make user experiences more responsive. The Asha platform is also said to help developers to create, publish and better monetise apps made specifically for the new generation of Asha devices.
The 98-gram device is available in a choice of six colours and comes in just two parts: a hardy, removable casing, designed for durability, and a scratch-resistant glass display, which features a three-inch, capacitive touchscreen and a single ‘back' button.
Nokia aims for usability in the device by having content accessed through a single 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 allows recently accessed contacts, social networks and apps, unique to each person, to be stored and presented in a single location. It provides a record of how the phone is used, giving users a glimpse of past, present and predicted activity, and helping them multi-task by providing quick access to their favorite features.
The new Asha comes with Nokia Xpress Browser pre-loaded, which is said to compress 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.
According to Nokia, the Asha 501 has a standby time of up to 48 days when using the single-SIM model. The Asha 501 is the first smartphone built on the new Asha platform, which leverages Nokia's investments in Smarterphone, a company acquired by the Finnish firm in 2012.
Check out our gallery of the forthcoming Nokia Asha 501.
The new Asha platform provides developers with an open, standards-based environment for creating apps, meaning apps for the Nokia Asha 501 will be compatible with future Asha platform-based devices. Nokia pledged greater opportunities for developers to make 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 familiar 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. WhatsApp and other key partners continue to explore new Asha.
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 new Nokia Asha 501 raises the bar for what is possible in affordable smartphone design and optimisation," said Timo Toikkanen, executive vice president, Mobile Phones, Nokia. "The synergy between the physical design and the engine that is the new Asha platform has created a smartphone with both style and substance at a great price."
The Nokia Asha 501 is expected to start shipping in June 2013. It is expected to be available through approximately 60 operators and distributors in more than 90 countries worldwide.
The Nokia Asha 501 will be available in single or EasySwap Dual SIM models. All come with WiFi and Bluetooth.