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Nokia Asha 501 now official – fun, colorful, smarter than any Asha to date

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Nokia Asha 501 now official – fun, colorful, smarter than any Asha to date
The rumor mill may have spoiled the surprise, but the Nokia Asha 501 is now official after being introduced at an event hosted by the company in New Delhi, India. And as you might expect, it's a budget-friendly phone tailored for the needs of emerging markets. However, that doesn't mean it's low on features.

The Nokia Asha 501 is actually the first member of a whole new family of Asha phones, meant to be more capable and functional than ever before. In fact, these new Ashas are to be built using technology adopted by Smarterphone – a company, which Nokia bought last year. With the Asha 501, Nokia is introducing a revamped user interface, which is split into two sections, one of them being a traditional icon-based list of menu items, and the other referred to as the Fastlane. Think of the latter as a list of features used most often, providing access to favorite contacts, social networks, and frequently used apps. 

Regardless of whether you pick the single- or dual-SIM variant, there is no 3G connectivity on the Nokia Asha 501. In other words, users will be limited to slower 2G speeds only. To make up for the lack of bandwidth, Nokia has pre-loaded its Xpress browser on the device, capable of compressing data by up to 90%. Facebook and Twitter clients are also included on the Nokia Asha 501, in addition to 40 free video games provided courtesy of EA.

As far as specs go, the Nokia Asha 501 has a 3-inch capacitive LCD touchscreen with resolution of 240 by 320 pixels. The 3.2MP camera on the back – capable of taking photos and low-res videos, has no auto-focus and no flash. With its 1200mAh battery, the phone can provide up to 17 hours of talk time or 56 hours of music playback. Connectivity-wise, you get Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and an FM radio. Internal storage is very limited, but a microSD card slot for expansion is present and a 4GB card is included in the set. The unit itself has a thickness of 12.1 millimeters and weighs 98 grams. 

Of course, specs like these will not impress anyone who has ever laid hands on a modern smartphone, but they seem fitting considering the market targeted with the Nokia Asha 501. Expect seeing the handset on the market soon, available in a multitude of colors - black, white, green, yellow, red, and cyan. Pricing is set at $99 before taxes and carrier subsidy. 



source: Nokia

Nokia introduces the Nokia Asha 501

Nokia Asha 501 and Asha platform reinvent the affordable smartphone category

New Delhi, India and Espoo, Finland - Nokia today unveiled the first of a new family of Asha smartphones with the introduction of the Nokia Asha 501. The handset pushes the boundaries of affordable smartphone design with bold color, a high-quality build and an innovative user interface. The Nokia Asha 501 is the first device to run on the new Asha platform, which is designed to make the experience faster and more responsive. The Asha platform also helps developers to create, publish and make more money from apps made specifically for the new generation of Asha devices.

Standout design, innovative user interfaceNokia Asha 501 Color Range

The Nokia Asha 501 makes high-end design and quality accessible to more people. The device is available in a choice of six striking colours that complement the elegant design. It comes in just two parts: a durable, removable casing and the scratch-resistant glass display, which features a three-inch, capacitive touchscreen and a single 'back' button. The compact new Asha weighs only 98 grams, for the ultimate portability.

The Nokia Asha 501 is built to make it easier for people to access everything they love, with a simple swipe and a choice of two main screens: Home and Fastlane. Home is a traditional, icon-based view for launching individual apps or accessing a specific feature, like the dialler or phone settings. The new Fastlane view was inspired by how people really use their phone. Recently accessed contacts, social networks and apps, unique to each person, are stored and presented in Fastlane. It provides a record of how the phone is used, giving people a glimpse of their past, present and future activity, and helping them multi-task by providing easy access to their favorite features.

Smarter and more personal Internet experiences

The new Asha comes with Nokia Xpress Browser pre-loaded, which compresses Internet data by up to 90%. This is aimed at making mobile browsing faster and more affordable. Nokia also announced the availability of Nokia Xpress Now, a new Web application that recommends content based on location, preferences and trending topics. It will be available via the Browser homepage or as a download from Nokia Store.

"Nokia has surpassed expectations of what's achievable in the sub-100 USD phone category with a new Asha handset that is unlike any other, with design cues from Lumia and a mix of features, services and affordability that is valued by price-conscious buyers," said Neil Mawston, executive director, Global Wireless Practice, Strategy Analytics. "This is a welcome addition to the market and a refreshing option for consumers looking to upgrade from feature phones."

Asha platform for next-generation family of devices

The new Nokia Asha 501 was purpose-built to give people the best possible mobile experiences at an affordable price. It is highly efficient, with an industry-leading standby time of up to 48 days*. The Asha 501 is the first smartphone built on the new Asha platform, which leverages Nokia's investments in Smarterphone, a company which Nokia acquired in 2012.

The new Asha platform provides developers with an open, standards-based environment for creating quality apps for consumers. Developers can create apps for the Nokia Asha 501 that will be compatible with future Asha platform-based devices. Nokia gives developers the chance to make more money through the global reach of Nokia Store and tools like Nokia In-App Payment and Nokia Advertising Exchange (NAX), as well as Nokia's unparalleled operator billing network.

Many of the most popular applications are already available or in development for the Nokia Asha platform, including CNN, eBuddy, ESPN, Facebook, Foursquare, Line, LinkedIn, Nimbuzz, Pictelligent, The Weather Channel, Twitter, WeChat, World of Red Bull and games from Electronic Arts, Gameloft, Indiagames, Namco-Bandai and Reliance Games. WhatsApp and other key partners continue to explore new Asha.

The HERE experience, based on Nokia's leading location-based platform, will also be available as a download for the Nokia Asha 501, starting in Q3 2013 and will initially include basic mapping services.

"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."

Facebook and global operators to support Nokia Asha 501 with free data plans

The Nokia Asha 501 is expected to start shipping in June 2013. It is expected to be available through approximately 60 operators and distributors in more than 90 countries worldwide.

"We are very happy to offer the new Nokia Asha 501 through our subsidiaries in the continent. We are certain that this innovative device will follow the successful footprint of the Nokia Asha family, combining affordability with the best communication and Internet browsing capabilities," said Marco Quatorze, Value Added Services Director for America Movil.

A leading operator in the Asia-Pacific region, Telkomsel is also supporting the arrival of the new Nokia Asha. "The Nokia Asha 501 will help us to boost the mobile Internet in Indonesia. It is powered by innovations like the Nokia Xpress Browser, based on a very efficient data consumption technology which allow us to offer best data plan tariff for people," said Alistair Johnston, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Telkomsel. "We have a billing agreement with Nokia that supports the creation of local applications absolutely relevant to Indonesian consumers."

The popularity of the Nokia Asha family has also prompted innovative approaches to bundled mobile services. Nokia, Facebook and mobile network operator Airtel announced they have joined forces to offer data-free access to the standalone Facebook app, as well as the mobile site m.facebook.com. By the end of second quarter, current Airtel subscribers in Africa and India** will be able to enjoy unlimited, data-free access to Facebook from their Nokia Asha 501 for a limited period of time.

Commenting on the partnership, Andre Beyers, Chief Marketing Officer for Airtel Africa, said: "The collaboration with Nokia is in line with our strategy of enabling people to access data in Africa as we seek to bridge the digital divide across the continent. We're already witnessing tremendous growth in data use across the 17 countries where we operate. The provision of free Facebook access is an excellent proposition to the millions of Airtel consumers. We are extremely delighted to partner with Nokia to give our consumers an even better mobile experience."

Telkomsel will provide a specific Nokia Telkomsel Asha data plan that offers up to 500 MB of data use and includes 60 minutes of calls and 60 SMS. The company will also provide a one month free data plan to consumers using Nokia Asha 501 that can be used for all mobile Internet activities including access to Facebook or downloading apps.

"This bundle is a great way to discover Facebook on your Nokia Asha and enjoy the experience for longer without worrying about data charges," said Vaughn Smith, VP mobile partnerships, Facebook. "Working in close partnership with Nokia and global operators made this offer possible and we're excited to help connect the world on Facebook."

MTN, a leading operator across Africa, said it will also offer the Nokia Asha 501 and ease access to Facebook. "We are excited to support this initiative with Facebook in Nigeria and Zambia and we are looking forward to expand it to other markets," says Pieter Verkade, group chief commercial officer at MTN.

Product specifications and availability

The Nokia Asha 501 is available in single or EasySwap Dual SIM models. All come with WiFi and Bluetooth. Other specifications:
- Dimensions: 99.2 x 58 x 12.1 mm; 98 grams
- Camera: 3.2 MP
- Single SIM standby time: up to 48 days***
- Dual SIM standby time: up to 26 days***
- Talk time: up to 17 hours
- Additional memory of 4GB (card included in box), expandable up to 32GB
- Forty free EA Games worth €75 downloadable from Nokia Store
- Available colours: Bright Red, Bright Green, Cyan, Yellow, White and Black
- Suggested pricing is 99 USD before taxes and subsidies.
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