Nokia Offers Two New Low-End Smartphones In The Asha Line
Enid Burns for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Nokia may have made a commitment to the Microsoft Windows Phone OS, but it still needs some lower-end handsets, including basic phones and low-end smartphones, to bolster its recovery. The Finnish phone maker introduced two new models, the Nokia Asha 308 and Nokia Asha 309, which will be available by the end of the year.
The Nokia Asha 308 and 309 will sell for about $99, excluding taxes and subsidies. This means the phones might actually be available for less from some carriers, pending contractual commitments. Nokia announced the phones in Asia. Nokia markets its Asha line of smart devices in emerging markets.
Nokia’s Asha 308 and 309 are being called smartphones by the manufacturer, however they may fit more into the feature phone category by other standards. The low-end software and hardware are not enough to meet Windows Phone requirements. The phones run Nokia’s Series 40 software platform, which is seen as a low-end OS for handsets, and is not compatible with Windows Phone, Android or iOS to gain access to apps and other benefits.
“The smartphone-feature phone distinction is largely irrelevant in emerging markets. The Asha devices provide all the features most users need, including apps, web browsing and Facebook access,” a Reuters article quotes CCS Insight analyst Geoff Blaber as saying.
The analyst calls the new Asha devices “essential” for Nokia, a company trying to pull itself out of troubles amidst a quickly-advancing market of Android, iOS and Windows Phone devices. “The continued strength of the mobile phone business is a testament to Nokia’s scale and distribution advantages. Defending that business is critical if Nokia’s smartphone business is to weather the storm,” Blaber said.
Both handsets, the Asha 308 and Asha 309, are ZG-enabled devices featuring a 3″ WQVGA capacitive display, multiple home screens, stereo radio, loud speakers and up to 32 GB microSD card support. The multiple home screens, and apps found on each screen, are accessed using Nokia’s fluid “swipe” user interface.
The Asha 309 from Nokia is the single SIM variant, which also offers Wi-Fi. The Nokia Asha 308 is a dual SIM device, which features Nokia’s Easy Swap technology. Asha 308 handsets let owners switch between multiple SIM cards, which is a benefit for those traveling within regions of different standards. The SIM card can be switched without having to remove the battery or turn off the phone. In emerging markets where competing carriers may operate on different standards in different zones, the ability to swap SIM cards to make the phone compatible with a different carrier rather than acquiring additional charges or not being able to get reception, is a feature that might sell a few handsets.
Nokia still relies heavily on the sale of basic handsets. “Although they don’t get as much attention as its smartphones, mobile phones play a key part in Nokia’s future. Mobile phones account for the majority of Nokia’s revenue today and they are also vital for building loyalty with potential smartphones users in the future,” Reuters quotes Ovum analyst Nick Dillon in its article.
Nokia is building on its recovery. Reuters said shares of Nokia were up 1.8% to 2.14 Euros.
In a separate statement from the Asha handset news, Nokia said it would cut 725 jobs at its factory in South Korea as part of its global cost savings program it announced in June.