Nokia says it’s aiming to make “high-end design and quality accessible to more people” with the launch of the Asha 501 and its software platform. The unsubsidized cost of the Asha 501 will be $99, but the phone is not lacking in valuable features.
Appearing as a smaller variant of the Lumia Windows Phone series, the Asha 501 comes in a variety of colors (red, blue, black, yellow, white and green) and the hardware packs a 3″ multi-touch screen, Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity, a 3.2 Mega Pixel camera and a MicroSD memory option, expandable up to 32 GB.
The 1200 mAh battery on the palm-sized device enables 17 hours of talk time, 56 hours of music playback and 48 days of standby time on 2G networks, according to Nokia.
Though the Asha 501 doesn’t support 3G or 4G data speeds, the phone comes packaged with the new Nokia Xpress Browser. Xpress Browser compresses Internet data by “up to 90 percent,” according to Nokia, making mobile browsing a real possibility in emerging markets and offering lower cost data options to all users.
Nokia’s new Asha mobile operating system has already attracted app developers from some of the most popular content creators for Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, including CNN, ESPN, Facebook, Foursquare, LinkedIn, The Weather Channel, Twitter, Electronic Arts and Gameloft.
Nokia has teamed up with wireless carrier Airtel and Facebook to provide Asha 501 users on Airtel neworks in Africa and India with free data access via the Asha Facebook app and all mobile Facebook web pages.
“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,” Andre Beyers, Chief Marketing Officer for Airtel Africa, said in statement about the partnership. “The provision of free Facebook access is an excellent proposition to the millions of Airtel consumers.”
The Nokia Asha 501 will be available to purchase in Asia Pacific, India, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Europe starting June 2013, a spokesperson for Nokia told ABC News. Individual country announcements will be made at a later time.