The global launch of Nokia's latest 'Asha' device
, the Nokia Asha 501, was held in New Delhi on Thursday, with the company's global CEO, Stephen Elop himself attending. The Asha 501, like its predecessors in the 'Asha' series, seeks to blur the distinction between feature phones and smartphones, by offering several of the latter's conveniences at an affordable price, but it uses a brand new operating system.
The Asha 501 will cost $99 (Rs 5,400) plus taxes and will be available in stores from June.
The device has a three inch scratch-resistant display with a removable casing at the back. It has a 3.2 MP camera and a 4GB memory card, but will support expandable memory of up to 32GB. It is currently a 2G device with WiFi capability, but a 3G version will follow soon. It wakes up from sleep with a double tap, and has a single 'back' hardware button.
Asha 501 will not run on the old Symbian S40 operating system
, but an entirely new one. The new innovative interface includes Swipe and Fastlane that looks similar to the Nokia N9. The Fastlane encapsulates all the past, present and upcoming activity of the user which she can easily access by scrolling up and down. The notifications can be directly accessed from the homescreen with a single swipe.
The Asha 501 will be available in two variants - single SIM and dual SIM. The dual SIM variant will have two slots for micro SIM, of which one will be hot swappable.
Inspired by the Lumia design, the Asha 501 will be available in six colours - bright red, bright green, cyan, yellow, white and black. It has 17 hours of talktime with 48 days of stand-by for the single SIM variant and 26 days for the dual-SIM model.
"The new Nokia Asha 501 raises the bar for what is possible in affordable smartphone design and optimization," said Timo Toikkanen, Executive Vice President, Mobile Phones, Nokia. "The synergy between the physical design and the engine that is the new Asha platform has created a smartphone with both style and substance at a great price."