Nokia has continued its focus on emerging markets after the Finnish company unveiled two new devices in its ‘affordable’ Asha series, the Asha 308 and the Asha 309, which become its cheapest touchscreen phones to date. The mobile firm has also introduced a free information app, mainly for those on basic devices in developing countries.
The dual-SIM Asha 308 and single-SIM Asha 309 Nokia both support 2G mobile networks only, and include a 3.0” WQVGA capacitive display, multiple home screens, stereo radio, loud speakers and up to 32GB microSD card support. Additionally, the Asha 309 also includes WiFi, and the Asha 308 features Nokia’s Easy Swap technology.
Both phones include an updated version of the Nokia Xpress Browser which the company says has been enhanced to run 90 percent more efficiently and allow for faster mobile browsing.
The devices will be priced around $99 and shipping is expected to start in the final quarter of 2012.
“Our innovative Asha Touch family of devices is designed for people who want a great smartphone experience with lower running costs,” said Timo Toikkanen, executive vice president, Mobile Phones, Nokia.
In a double announcement, the company also introduced Nokia Life+, a free app that provides information relating to education, health and ‘infotainment’.
We’ve often talked about the benefits of increased Internet access in continents like Asia, Africa and Latin America and Nokia Life+ is aimed at providing instant and easy information primarily to those in these emerging markets. It will be supported by the two new Asha devices as well as “a wide range” of other phones.
“People in developing economies need better access to information on the Internet that has relevance and value to their daily lives beyond entertainment. Nokia Life+ will serve as a bridge as people graduate from a primarily text-based mobile experience towards richer, web-based usage,” explained Jawahar Kanjilal, Vice President & Global Head of Nokia Life.
It is free and available in download in 18 countries worldwide, which include but are not limited to: Philippines, Vietnam, Bangladesh, South Africa, Malaysia, Kenya, Pakistan, Egypt, US and UK.
Nokia has further introduced another application — ‘Nokia Nearby’ — which lets users discover new places by searching locations on a map. Like Nokia Life+, it is available via the Nokia Xpress Browser or as a feature within Nokia Maps.
The Asha range was launched a year ago, alongside the Lumia, with Steven Elop calling it an aspirational range for emerging markets. Nokia unveiled the first touchscreen-totting member of the series in June, in a bid to bridge the smartphone-feature gap.
The Finnish firm has been focused on providing real content to the devices, rather than simply zoning in on its price tag, and game giant Zynga recently expanded its partnership with a deal that will see DrawSomething and other titles come to Asha phones this year.
Headline image via Getty Image / AFP, device photos via Nokia