Nokia has not ended the quest to reach the next billion, and while the Windows phone 8 offering is unsure in many markets, Asha phones continue being produced in their millions. The most recent addition is the Nokia Asha 308 and Asha 309, Asha 308 being the dual-sim of the two. Nokia claims this to be the most affordable capacitive touch screen device there is, I know in marketing there is no use of the word cheapest. But considering the pricing of $99, I would say there are some low-end Android devices that beat that mark, for example the Ascend Y 100 by Huawei retailing at Kshs.8,000 which is well below $99. Moving straight on, the two phones differentiated by the number of sims each one has come with a new version of Nokia Browser, named Nokia Xpress Browser, which Nokia says enables upto 90% efficient mobile browsing. Going by the Asha history, this cound actually be something worth looking at.
Nokia browser stands the test of data compression and web pages formatting for a better mobile browsing exprience. Nokia borrowed the Asha UI from the much famed Nokia N9 called the swipe UI where you swipe across to reveal other apps like screen switches, the same also extends to the browser. The discussion whether these are actually smartphones should be a discussion of another day, what is not debatable is whether Nokia Asha phones actually deliver what is written in the press. I have had the Asha 311 and the feel is quite good.
The two newbies are the smaller sisters so I would assume there is some compromise in functionality to lower the price. These phones have a 3inch WQVGA capacitive display and the 309 which is single sim has Wi-Fi while it’s counterpart misses that and has sim-swap as the feature it has over 309. So there we have it folks, the 308 misses Wi-Fi. Beyond the 40 free games that have become the norm for Asha phones, these two have video streaming via Youtube through the browser, even though the two phones are 2G.
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.
Features they both share:
- 2MP camera
- Music player, FM Radio
- Pinch to zoom
- Nokia Life web app
- 2GB MicroSD included,Support up to 32GB Micro SD memory card
- Dimensions: 109.9 mm x 54 mm x 13 mm (L x W x H)
- Nokia Compact Charger AC-11
- System: GSM/EDGE Dual Band 900/1800, 850/1900
- User Interface: Series 40 Asha Touch
- Display: 3.0” WQVGA, capacitive touch
- Memory: Up to 20MB internal free user memory; Support up to 32GB Micro SD memory card
- Connectivity: GPRS/EDGE, 2.0 mm Charger Connector, Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP support, Micro USB 2.0 connector, 3.5 mm AV connector, USB charging
- Standby time: Up to 25 days
- Talk time: Up to 17 hours
Info on availability of devices in the market is not yet available.