I have to admit that I started to pay attention to Nokia Asha smartphones only recently even though they have been out for more than a year.
Nokia introduced new Asha phones recently and one of the first questions that came up in my mind was if they would be running Windows Phone 8 as I assumed that Nokia was putting all its power behind Microsoft's mobile operating system.
I quickly learned that the Asha line of phones is not using Windows Phone 8 or any other Microsoft mobile operating system. Recent Asha devices run on the Series 40 software platform which Nokia introduced back in 1999. The platform evolved over time from its very humble monochrome display origins to high resolution full color display support.
The first Nokia Asha phone were made available in October 2011 and Nokia has been pushing out new phones regularly every since.
The most recent Asha phone, the Nokia Asha 501 caught my attention not only because of its price of $99 but also because of its decent set of features it ships with. It offers 128 MB of memory and a 4 GB Multimedia Card that is included with the purchase, a 5 Megapixel camera, and dual-sim capabilities. It offers standby times of up to 48 days and talk-time of up to 17 hours.
It also ships with a new feature called Nokia Fastlane which provides you with access to a history feature that details activities of the past - think missed calls, Twitter usage - and appointments in the future.
It also offers access to the Nokia Xpress browser which uses technology similar to Opera Turbo to compress website data by directing it through a Nokia server.
A number of applications and games are included out of the box, including Facebook, CNN, ESPN, Twitter and games from EA and Gameloft. Asha owners get access to Nokia's cloud based mapping service Here as well and a couple of other features.
The core difference between Nokia Lumia and Asha smartphones is the operating system that is being used. Lumia devices use Windows Phone exclusively while Asha phones use the Series 40 platform instead. Lumia phones are designed for a mid to high end segment, while Asha phones for a low end to mid market instead.
Additional information about the Nokia Asha device line can be found
at the Nokia Developer website.
Update: the Developer site is no longer available.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.