The FINANCIAL — Accelerating its capability to connect the next billion people to the internet, Nokia unveiled additional services and three more Asha feature phone models — the Nokia Asha 202, Asha 203 and Asha 302 — at Mobile World Congress.
According to Nokia, designed to deliver a variety of affordable mobile experiences, the new offerings target three dimensions: Work, with Mail for Exchange support for the Nokia Asha 302; Learn, bringing new information services for young, urban consumers, and a fast, cloud-based browser that reduces internet access costs; and Play, with free EA games available on the Nokia Asha 202 and Asha 203.
"Since outlining a new strategy a year ago, we've taken significant actions to deliver against it," said Mary T. McDowell, Nokia's executive vice president for Mobile Phones. "We've been connecting the next billion people to the mobile world and its benefits through contemporary feature phones and internet services. Today, we are taking another step in that direction, with a compelling combination of smarter mobile devices packed with innovative services.
"Nokia also announced an evolution of Nokia Life Tools, Nokia Life, which provides life-enhancing information across the range of Nokia Series 30 and Series 40 products. Now with additional relevant services, social elements and fresher look, it's available first on the Nokia Asha 202 and 203 phones. Since its 2009 launch in India, the SMS-based service has expanded to China, Indonesia and Nigeria. To date, more than 50 million people have experienced its benefits.
Nokia Life delivers content in the areas of parenting, life skills, education, health, entertainment and agriculture. For example, Nokia Life can help parents focus on children's physical, emotional and social growth needs, from birth to adolescence. People can also learn English using basic SMS communications, and enjoy ringtones, sport news and trivia.
"Nokia Life services provide an entry to the world of digital content and an internet-like experience for many people who don't yet have access to data plans" said Dieter May, Nokia's senior vice president of Mobile Phone Services. "With today's news, we're enhancing our services to bring consumers an even more enjoyable experience on the new Asha phones, with content that matters to them in their daily lives, is fun and helps them progress."
The Nokia Asha family has expanded rapidly since its debut, just four months ago, with four devices presented at Nokia World 2011. It's now available in more than 100 markets globally and will be complemented by three devices announced today.
Nokia's Asha 202 and 203 phones stand out with the combination of a traditional keypad with a 2.4- inch touch screen, ideal for browsing, scrolling and opening applications. The Asha 202 features Dual SIM Easy Swap technology with dedicated SIM manager to personalize the phone and save up to five SIM cards with unique information. Both devices come with a 2-megapixel camera, music player, FM radio, Nokia Browser, and Bluetooth connectivity, and can handle memory cards up to 32GB.
Estimated retail price for each is about EUR 60, excluding taxes and subsidies, and both are expected to start shipping in the second quarter of 2012.Nokia and EA have teamed on innovative ways to bring games to the next billion. The Nokia Asha 202 and 203 will be the first Series 40 devices to offer EA games. As a 60-day promotion at Nokia Store, the EUR 75 separate cost of an EA 40-game pack – including popular titles such as Tetris, Need for Speed, The Run and Bejeweled – will be automatically waived for buyers of either new model.
The Nokia Asha 302 is Nokia's first Series 40 phone to support Mail for Exchange, giving people access to their emails, contacts and calendar on an exchange server. That and a stylish QWERTY keyboard make it ideal for young entrepreneurs and professionals seeking a beautifully designed phone.
Additionally, the Nokia Asha connects to popular social networks and enables chatting through Whatsapp and other IM services. The Nokia Asha 302 is powered by a 1-GHz processor and supports 3.5G data speeds. It is available now for about EUR 95.