ABU DHABI: FINNISH PHONE MAKER Nokia kicked off Nokia World 2013 on Tuesday by unveiling three budget Asha devices, as it looks to grow its popularity in the budget smartphone market.
Nokia CEO Stephen Elop announced the trio of Asha handsets, named the Asha 500, Asha 502 and Asha 503. The three handsets debut a new design from the phone maker, with the devices debuting the firm's "dual shot layering effect" that sees the budget phones wrapped in "crystal-effect" casings.
The Nokia Asha 502 and Asha 503 take tips from the firm's Lumia devices, with the Finnish firm configuring the devices with improved cameras. There are some new software tools onboard too, including Swipe, which lets users swipe through camera settings to switch between Image, Photos and Gallery modes.
Nokia boasted that images will be able to shared straight to Whatsapp as of next month, with the app arriving on the Asha lineup in November.
Jan Koum, CEO of Whatsapp spoke about the company's partnership with Nokia at today's event. He said, "It is because of my personal affinity with the Nokia brand, that we started working with the company back in 2009.
"We want everybody on the planet to have a smartphone, to have internet on their device and to have Whatsapp on their phone. Stephen Elop and the Nokia team are making that happen."
Speaking about Whatsapp's integration on Asha devices, Koum said, "All of the features on our app today will be available on Asha, including voice messaging and image sharing."
Koum added that Whatsapp now has over 350 million active users, adding that 250,000 register with the internet service on a Nokia device every day.
Full specifications for the Asha phones are still to be unveiled. However, the Nokia 503 will be the highest specified of the three devices, featuring a 5MP rear-facing camera and integrated 3G connectivity.
The Nokia Asha 500, 502 and 503 will fetch $69, $89 and $99, respectively, and will arrive on shelves this quarter. µ
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