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Nokia's India-made smartphone 'Asha 501' at $99

The Asha 501 seeks to blur the distinction between feature phones and smartphones.

Business Today Bureau   New Delhi     Last Updated: May 15, 2013  | 16:09 IST

Nokia launched the latest offering in its Asha series, the Nokia Asha 501, in the presence of company's global chief executive officer (CEO) Stephen Elop in New Delhi on Thursday in an attempt to stay in the fierce smartphone race.

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.

The Asha 501, which will be built in India, will be rolled out in 90 countries by June and cost $99 (Rs 5,350) plus taxes. The phone will use a new software that allows users to multitask between built-in applications for popular social media sites.

The new software is revamp of the old version and has been bundled with a pact that lets customers use Facebook for free on their handsets. Its deal with Facebook and mobile operator Bharti Airtel allows Asha 501 users in India and Africa to access their social networking account without paying any data charges.

The device has a three-inch scratchresistant display with a removable casing at the back. It has a 3.2 MP camera and a 4GB memory card with an option of expandable memory of up to 32GB. The new handset has a 2G device with WiFi capability, but a 3G version will follow soon.

"India is very important. It is the bellwether market that is very leading indicator of some of the trend. It is very symbolic that we are not launching this from certain other countries, from Finland, London or the US. We are launching it here in India because so much of our work is focussed on Indian consumers," Elop said."The new Nokia Asha 501 raises the bar for what is possible in affordable smartphone design and optimisation," executive vice-president Timo Toikkanen said.

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