Nokia has introduced a new handset that’s being described as “the first of a new family of Asha smartphones”.
The Nokia Asha 501 runs a new Asha platform that’ll be compatible with other Asha devices in the future. This means application developers will be able to create apps for the new smartphone family, taking advantage of the Nokia application store and Nokia’s forthcoming in-app payments tool.
Apps already available or in development for the Nokia Asha platform include Facebook, Foursquare, LinkedIn, Nimbuzz, Twitter. In addition, a number of games are being developed along with Nokia’s location-based HERE service.
Available in a choice of six colours, the Asha 501 has a 3-inch touchscreen, a 3.2 megapixel camera and a single physical ‘back’ button. It’s expected to be available from next month with a SIM-free retail price of $99 (around £77 incl. VAT).
Marco Argenti, head of Developer Experiences at Nokia, said “We’ve seen a tremendous increase in consumer demand for apps for our Asha smartphones, as witnessed by the growth of downloads in Nokia Store. Consumers expect quality apps at every price point. With the new Asha platform, developers will be incentivized to deliver those quality apps, previously found only on high-end smartphones, thanks to unprecedented volumes and reach opportunities through one distribution channel and a single platform.”
The new Asha platform follows Nokia’s investment in Smarterphone, a mobile software company it acquired a year ago.