“We’re not out of the woods yet,” remarked Stephen Elop, Nokia CEO to Nokia’s shareholders in a recent meeting. With a global launch of Asha 501 yesterday in New Delhi, Nokia’s new device to take on the low cost Android phones, Elop has justified his remark.
The Asha series has been a phone inspired by India. At the event, Elop expressed his satisfaction with the way the Asha phones have performed. Selling 20 million phones already and also clocking a billion downloads from the Nokia Ovi store – the largest app store in India. Elop also added that the time is right as the platform needs a refresh for the Indian consumers.
The device that inherits the design of the low-end Lumia phones would be available in the markets from June sporting 6 vibrant colors. The primary specs of the phone would be – 3-inch touch screen, 4GB microSD card, 3.2 MP camera, 2G support and WIFI support. Customers can avail a 3G version which would be available later part of the year.
Elop also announced that Nokia has announced a global partnership with Facebook, saying that Asha 501 users on Airtel and MTNL will be provided free access to the social networking site. However, it was not clear for how long.
Partnering with social networking services has been a marketing initiative that is not new for the Finnish company. Recently they partnered with BSB’s mobile messaging app Hike to launch their app on selective devices such as Lumia 510, Lumia 720 and all Nokia Asha Full Touch phones sold in India. And last month the brand partnered with popular messaging app WhatsApp to integrate an exclusive WhatsApp button for its Asha 201 model. Last year it had also partnered with Facebook for its Asha 205 model to integrate a Facebook button.
Launch buzz on social media
Along with the launch, the Twitter community was out there talking about the new device and #NokiaAsha501 was trending all throughout the day. The Twitter and the Facebook presence of the brand seemed eager to reach out to their respective fans on social media.
— Nokia (@nokia) May 9, 2013
“@myportableworld: The Nokia Asha 501 with Optimized 2G and WiFi is the affordable smartphone for 80% of the population.”
— Vinu Thomas (@vinuthomas) May 9, 2013
#NokiaAsha501 is the perfect phone for the average indian user. Internet, apps, touch, entertainment and facebook. This is the full package
— nandagopal rajan (@nandu79) May 9, 2013
Selecting India as a global launch destination makes Nokia’s intentions quite clear. So would have to wait and see how Indians respond to the phone once it comes out in the market. For now it looks like a colourful device from the leading brand in the country to suit the common man’s pocket.