You don't hear much about Nokia's Asha Touch line, what with the industry spotlight focused tightly on quad-core processors, 720p displays and state-of-the-art optics. But with today's launch of the Asha 308 and 309, the smartphone genre's gaining two new members -- a classification recently bestowed on the budget-priced handsets by market research firms GfK and IDC. Positioned by Espoo as the go-to devices for those uninitiated in the ways of the mobile web, this pair of capacitive 3-inchers run the same Series 40 OS and even share the same specs: 800MHz processor, WQVGA resolution, 1,110mAh battery, 20MB internal storage plus included 2GB microSD (expandable to 32GB), 2-megapixel rear camera and EDGE connectivity. Where they differ is in the 308's additional support for GSM/EDGE 850, 1900MHz bands and Easy Swap dual SIM accommodation. Apart from that, both come loaded up with a newer version of the company's Xpress browser that allows for up to 90% compression, Nokia Nearby for local search, and the same swipe-based UI seen on the gone-but-not-forgotten N9. The phones are set to ship by year-end with a modest $99 off contract pricing in the emerging market space. Check after the break for the official presser and preview videos. %Gallery-166435%
Nokia expands Asha Touch range to offer consumers smarter Internet experiences
The Nokia Asha 308 and Nokia Asha 309 deliver a full smartphone experience enriched with new Nokia web services and developer tools
Jakarta, Indonesia – Nokia today unveiled the Nokia Asha 308 and Nokia Asha 309, the latest additions to the Asha Touch family of mobile devices. The dual SIM Nokia Asha 308 and single SIM Nokia Asha 309 give consumers fast web access at low cost. To create this smarter Internet experience, Nokia released a new version of Nokia Xpress Browser, which enables up to 90% more efficient mobile browsing and faster access to rich web applications compared to conventional browsers.
The new devices offer a fluid 'swipe' user interface and an open environment for third-party application development, characteristics that have earned the complete Asha Touch range full smartphone classification from global market research companies and analysts such as GfK and IDC.
"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. "By introducing the Nokia Asha 308 and Nokia Asha 309, we're expanding our affordable smartphone lineup and bringing new mobile experiences to more people."
Nokia estimates the retail price for the Nokia Asha 308 and Nokia Asha 309 to be about USD 99, excluding taxes and subsidies, with shipping expected to start in the fourth quarter 2012.
Nokia's most affordable capacitive touchscreen device
The Nokia Asha 308 and Nokia Asha 309 are Nokia's most affordable capacitive touchscreen devices to date. A view shared by independent analysts is that the Asha line represents great smartphones available for less than USD 99. "Nokia's Asha Touch family delivers all the core smartphone experiences, and with the new software developer kit, provides ever-increasing flexibility for developers to build compelling new experiences for consumers," said Will Stofega, Mobile Phone Program Director, IDC.
The Nokia Asha 308 and Nokia Asha 309 are 2G-enabled devices featuring a 3.0'' WQVGA capacitive display, multiple home screens, stereo radio, loud speakers and up to 32GB microSD card support. The Nokia Asha 309 is the single SIM variant with WiFi, while the Nokia Asha 308 is a dual SIM device featuring Nokia's industry-leading Easy Swap technology. Easy Swap enables people to switch between multiple SIM cards quickly and easily to get the best local tariffs without having to remove the battery or turn off the phone.
The phones also come with the free* gift of 40 premium EA games, social features such as standalone Facebook and Twitter clients, the Nokia Messaging Service, and video streaming through the browser from sites like YouTube – a first within the Asha Touch range.
New Services and Developer Tools
Nokia also introduced two extensions to its Xpress Browser Internet platform, the only cloud-based web browser to support web apps:
• The Nokia Nearby web app helps people discover new places by searching nearby locations and presenting the options on a map. The service is available via Nokia Xpress Browser or as a feature within Nokia Maps.
• The Nokia Life+ web app will give millions of people access to content that spans education, health and infotainment to enhance their daily lives. Nokia Life+ is available in English across 18 countries, with local versions coming to India, China and Indonesia in the fourth quarter of this year. Nokia Life+ can be accessed through Nokia Xpress Browser or the Nokia Store.
Both services work with Asha Touch smartphones. In addition to these services, Nokia introduced a new web-based tool that makes it even easier to build new applications. With Nokia Xpress Web App Builder, publishers can create appealing web apps for Asha Touch devices, and even novices can turn their web content into a fun and sophisticated web app for Nokia consumers.
*Data costs may apply.
Device images are available at Nokia.com/press.
Xpress Web App Builder is available at webappbuilder.developer.nokia.com