Meet The $99 Nokia That Doesn't Run Windows Phone 8

It's crazy to think in our Lumia-saturated world that Nokia would make a phone that doesn't run Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 platform, but to hedge bets and keep shareholders happy, the limping Finnish smartphone manufacturer has introduced us to the Asha 501: a $99 smartphone that it hopes will be a decent, low-cost alternative.

The Asha 501 isn't about to eclipse the Lumia range, but Nokia wants people to have a cheaper alternative to its range of Lumia phones. Right now there are five Lumia models on the market in Australia alone, with another on the way in the form of the Lumia 928.

To say the Asha 501 is spartan in its features is an overstatement. It packs a 3-inch QVGA (320x240) screen with 133 pixels per inch, it has a 3.2-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, Bluetooth 3.0, a 1200mAh battery. That's. About. It.

Despite the relatively poor specs on the Asha 501, Nokia is still promising big things. It runs apps from Facebook, Twitter and FourSquare, and even supports games like Plants vs Zombies, and it also has its own HTML compression service in the Nokia Xpress Browser that promises to let you get "more out of your data plan".

Nokia has also managed to make the Asha 501 really attractive, too, with six great-looking colours.

The Asha 501 has been given a $US99 price tag, but there's no word on what Aussies will pay just yet, or if we'll get it at all. Don't hold your breath, though: the Asha 501 is priced and built to accommodate the needs of the emerging market, and with cheaper devices from Intel and those running the Firefox OS well on their way, this is Nokia's chance to get back into the game. Nokia already has a steady footing in developing markets, too.

Either way, we'll update you if we hear more.



    So what OS does it run, Luke? The article is tagged Firefox OS but the body isn't clear whether it runs Firefox OS or it expects competition from Firefox OS.

      It runs on the Asha platform. I'd have thought that was clear.

        Considering prior to this model, Asha was a product line and not an operating system, I'd say it's not clear at all.

        It wasn't really clear. You never mentioned what OS it runs, and we're not just going to assume the OS is called Asha because it's an Asha 501. That'd be like assuming the Lumia 920's OS is called Lumia.

        To be fair, I thought Asha 501 was the model number.

        Regardless of what I said. I think this will be pretty kick ass. I'm fairly sick of the iPhone and want something that just calls. This will definitely keep me interested if it comes to Aus.

        Last edited 10/05/13 9:20 am

          The phone is an Asha 501, apparently it runs the Nokia Asha operating system.

            Ah, I can see why now it's just that little bit confusing for those who don't know. Thank you, sir.

        I think you mean Symbian Series 40 Luke.
        The disappointing bit of this article is that you seemingly miss the point of this phone. It is for developing markets and for those people out there rocking old nokia handsets.
        The great thing about symbian is that is does not need a bunch of Ram and because of qt, it has a massive range of apps available to it.

          The new platform apparently is called Asha, which (as you say) is an evolution of Series 40. It's a little confusing though, since there are about 15 Asha phone models, part of the Asha product line, that don't use the Asha operating system.

      I too was left wondering what OS this is running.

    Why buy this when you can buy the 5" Agora from Kogan for $150?

      Because unlike Kogan products this probably isn't shit

      Nokia's strong reputation for reliability and durability. Kogan's products haven't been in the market long enough to know whether they'll go on being cheap and cheerful or fall apart after six months.

      Wht spend $150 when you can spend $99 and achieve the same results?

      The goal of this phone is to be a bargain smart phone at a cheap price

    I doubt Australia will officially see this phone at all. Yes it's designed for emerging markets and part of that is no 3G. As they continue to refarm existing 2G frequencies for 3G and 4G upgrades, the last thing our carriers want is to promote a new 2G only handset.

    In many of the world's poorer nations, where the vast majority of mobile users are still using 2G/EDGE, 3G phones and plans are too expensive and for the rich, plus 3G coverage is limited to small areas of big cities. For 90% of the population of these countries, it's 2G or nothing.

    Maybe when there is an updated model with 3G support we will see it, but our carriers are far more likely to offer the Nokia Lumia 520 (with 3G support) at $99 on prepaid than this phone.

    This will be a hot ticket best selling item in the streets of India, China and many countries in Africa.

    *edit* Telstra are offering the Lumia 520 for $179 (gave it a blue tick for strong reception too) but now have the BlackBerry Curve for $99 and the HTC Desire C for $149 - any of those three would be more attractive to Australians I would have thought, as it will also give them significantly better reception (Australia's 3G networks now have triple the coverage of 2G, unless you're on Vodafone)

    Last edited 10/05/13 9:59 am

    So poorly written - sorry Luke.

    "It’s crazy to think in our Lumia-saturated world that Nokia would make a phone that doesn’t run Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 platform" - WTF
    Nokia makes and sells well more than double the number of non-Windows phones than it does Windows phones. Windows Phones are (by volume) still a very small part of Nokia's business.

    Tagged as "Firefox OS" - WTF?
    It is running the latest version of S40 - the same software that has been powering low-end Nokia Phones for many, many years now (just the newest release).
    And for those that commented, "Asha" is a series of phones, not the OS. Just the same as "Lumia" is a series of phones and not the OS.

      As of the Asha 501, it's now both. The Asha platform appears to be an evolved Series 40:

    Just to let you know Luke, the article detailing which OS it used was as clear as mud.

    I really like the look of this, be even better if it ran MeeGo or something similar (Linux based). Great for kids me thinks. Might see if I can import it?

    I want the #HTCOne for its: Camera Quality

      I think it does run on some form of meego. Perhaps a more evolved version. Still my device of choice is a good old nokia N9. Hope Nokia will one day release a full meego device - I love having no physical buttons!

      This looks like a great phone - awesome design. Would be awesome if it comes to Australia.

      Last edited 22/10/13 9:09 pm

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