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Technology / Networks

Nokia debuts Asha range of devices

Nokia Asha mobile phones

Photo credit: TheNextWeb

Nokia has unveiled four new basic mobile phones aimed at emerging markets. The Asha range will target "the next billion" people to get connected, according to Nokia CEO Stephen Elop.

The range is made up of four phones that are pitched somewhere between feature phones and smartphones. The 303 model will feature a capacitive touchscreen and a full qwerty keyboard while the 300 will also be touchscreen but will have a numeric keyboard instead. Both have a 5-megapixel camera and are 3G capable.

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As with the Lumia range of smartphones announced earlier today the Asha range integrates with social networks such as Twitter and Facebook and adds integration with Orkut, a Google-owned social network that is very popular in developing countries.

Asha – meaning "hope" in Hindi – also features two lower end devices. The 200 and 201 are geared towards music fans with 32GB of internal storage and what Nokia claims are speakers capable of blasting out music at a good quality.

The Asha range of phones will feature the Nokia browser, where all the data is crunched server-side. Nokia says this will reduce bandwidth requirements by 90% and reduce the cost of accessing data in the emerging markets it is targeting.

According to the New York Times about 60% of Nokia’s revenue comes from its non-smartphone business. CEO Stephen Elop said it was this market that the company is chasing with the Asha range. "The ‘next billion’ are young, tech-savvy users in emerging markets that are growing fast," he said.

The focus on this market is where Nokia can differentiate itself from rivals, according to analysts. "I still think Nokia is the only vendor that is truly looking at the opportunity in emerging markets with a tailored offering," tweeted Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi.

"Nokia Asha – hope for Nokia but also for consumers in emerging markets to access the Internet, apps & services the same as in mature ones," she added.

The devices will be available for a cost between €60 and €115.
This article is from the CBROnline archive: some formatting and images may not be present.