At Nokia World today, Nokia took the occasion of Asha’s second birthday to freshen the Asha line up with three new devices the 500, 502 and 503. The 503 brings 3G to the Asha series which will be hugely popular with many operators while the 502 and 503 both feature 5 megapixels.
All three devices feature dual-sim and wifi access and all share the same common design language with the dual shot manufacture combing vibrant solid colors with a second transparent layer providing a unique look and feel.
One key enhancement in the new devices which will be available to all Asha devices via OTA is a single swipe to activate the camera from the lock screen. A single swipe also activates many of the most common camera settings and with one tap anywhere on the screen to capture an image. Finally with one tap, users can share the image with any of their friends and family.
All of the new devices have enhanced Fastlane experience with greater control for users to decide what is or is not included on the Fastlane in terms of notifications, pictures, apps etc. Users can now long press anywhere on Fastlane and delete any item that they don’t want to appear. The new Fastlane will also be available on 501 via OTA.
Asha has been a great success in bringing smartphone like features to the mass market feature phones market. To date Asha is available in 130 countries with 19 models to date and over 25M touch devices sold many in direct competition with Android devices.
Beyond hardware, Nokia has done a good job in building an Asha ecosystem which now has over 900 developers in the 1M download club.
Indeed app momentum for Asha has been strong over the last 6 months and is set to get stronger with WhatsApp joining existing social network partners Line and WeChat in Q4 2013. This added to the existing list of apps providers such as Yelp, ESPN, Twitter, Goal.com, YouTube, Groupon, Shazam results in over 3.4B cumulative downloads. Nokia Asha 501 alone has had over 25m downloads.
So, congratulations to Nokia Asha where innovation is still alive and well! Nokia’s focus on consistent design languages, improving imaging and enhanced user experience continues to provide dividends in emerging markets.
The most important factor for Nokia Asha’s continued success will be to maintain the cadence of at least twice yearly product updates and to continue to move Asha users up the experience curve with device displays at and above 3 inches.