Nokia Launches Asha 501 Dual SIM Smartphone with Asha OS

We're all anxiously awaiting Nokia's next Lumia unveiling next week in London, but for now, the Finnish phone maker is in New Delhi unwrapping another device, and it's not running on Microsoft's Windows Phone platform. It's the Nokia Asha 501, the first of a new family of Asha smartphones and also the first to run on the new Asha platform, which is essentially a descendent of the MeeGo OS.

Don't worry, Windows Phone fans, Nokia and Microsoft are still BFFs in the mobile phone space; the Asha 501 is an inexpensive phone intended for developing markets. Like Nokia's other devices, the Asha 501 is bright and colorful. There are just two parts to the device, including a durable, removable casing and a scratch-resistant capacitive touchscreen display measuring all of 3 inches. It also sports a 3.2MP camera and comes in single- and dual-SIM flavors.

Asha 501

"Nokia has surpassed expectations of what's achievable in the sub-100 USD phone category with a new Asha handset that is unlike any other, with design cues from Lumia and a mix of features, services and affordability that is valued by price-conscious buyers," said Neil Mawston, executive director, Global Wireless Practice, Strategy Analytics. "This is a welcome addition to the market and a refreshing option for consumers looking to upgrade from feature phones."

It's a purpose-built phone that leverages Nokia's Smarterphone acquisition from a few years ago. There are two main screens to the device: Home and Fastlane. Home is an icon-based view for launching apps or accessing certain features, like the dialler or settings, while Fastlane "was inspired by how people really use their phone." Fastlane view displays recently accessed contacts, social networks, and apps.

The Nokia Asha 501 will be available in in 90 countries via 60 carriers in June.