updated 05:59 am EDT, Thu May 9, 2013
Phone first with new Asha software, has 48-day standby time
Nokia has updated its Asha range of devices with an entry-level touchscreen smartphone at a media event earlier today. The Asha 501, leaked yesterday, houses a three-inch 320x240 touchscreen in a case not too dissimilar from the Asha 210 QWERTY smartphone shown last month, along with a new mobile operating system.
Using parts of the Series 40 software and its investments in Smarterphone, Nokia has created what it calls the Asha Platform. Claimed to be an open, standards-based environment, it will be used in a number of future Asha releases, and will also provide apps to download through the Nokia Store. In terms of software, developers will be able to port Series 40 apps to it with few changes, with Facebook and Twitter preinstalled on the device and Nokia Here set to arrive in the near future, and the ability to download forty free games from EA through the Nokia Store.
Users will have the choice of using one of two home screens, with an app grid called Home providing normal functionality and a secondary interface called Fastlane that tracks and logs apps and actions performed for quickly returning to previously-used apps.
The 98-gram (3.4-ounce) Asha 501 has a rear 3.2-megapixel camera, and a small amount of internal storage supplimented by a 4GB microSD card. Though it will have options for single and dual SIM cards, it will only connect over 2G and Wi-Fi, with 3G notably absent. In terms of usage, the single-SIM model can survive on standby for up to 48 days, with the dual-SIM variant reaching 26 days, and up to 17 hours of talk time.
Releasing in India, Africa, and Latin America first before reaching 90 countries, the Asha 501 is expected to ship in late June for $99, and will come in a selection of six colors.