FINNISH PHONE MAKER Nokia announced the $99 Nokia Asha 501 on Thursday, which runs its revamped Asha mobile operating system.
Nokia has pinned all its hopes on the Windows Phone 8 mobile operating system, and despite managing to shift more smartphones each quarter, investor's aren't pleased with its underwhelming success so far. However, it looks like Nokia might have found its Plan B with its redesigned Asha mobile operating system that debuts on the cheap and cheerful Nokia Asha 501 phone.
Announced in Delhi, India, the handset is a compact phone featuring a 3in touchscreen, a 3.2MP camera and a Lumia influenced design that will see the phone released in six different colours. There's also 4GB of internal storage expandable to 32GB via microSD card, 2G and WiFi connectivity, 17-hour battery life and both dual and single SIM models.
The most interesting thing about the phone is its Asha mobile operating system, however, which Nokia has revamped to make it "faster and more responsive". Nokia is placing a heavy focus on apps too, and said its new Asha software provides developers with an open standards based environment for creating quality apps, hinting that it's not relying quite so much on Windows Phone.
A partnership with Facebook sees the social network coming to the Asha phone, and Nokia will also bundle the handset with its Here mapping service and 40 free EA games worth €75.
The Nokia Asha 501 might not arrive on shelves until June, but it has already managed to turn the heads of analysts. Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics said, "Nokia has surpassed expectations of what's achievable in the sub-100 USD phone category with a new Asha handset that is unlike any other, with design cues from Lumia and a mix of features, services and affordability that is valued by price-conscious buyers.
"This is a welcome addition to the market and a refreshing option for consumers looking to upgrade from feature phones."
There are no specific UK release date details available yet, but we've contacted Nokia for more information. µ