The definition of the Asha Touch range as smartphones will not be universal. Many analyst houses continue to use the ability to run native apps (rather than J2ME) as a dividing line, but, with the rise of web apps, this is a less clear cut division than it used to be. Marketing and shipment statistics aside, the exact categorisation of the Asha Touch line up doesn't really matter. More important is the type of user experiences they deliver to consumers and the way those consumers use those experiences.
Regardless of the definition, it is clear that consumers are using devices for much more than voice calls and messaging. The use of "smartphone like" experiences is important for Nokia, both as a source of potential revenue and a way to lock-in consumers to Nokia devices, but also because it strengthens the upgrade link between its Series 40 and Windows Phone devices. This will become more important as additional low cost Windows Phone devices are introduced in the next 24 months and may be critical to smartphone sales success in the growth markets of Asia.
With that said, it is important not to look at Nokia's Series 40 range entirely through then lens of the smartphone market. While smartphones are gradually eroding the sales of mobile phones, many more mobile phones (266 million in Q2 2012) are still sold each quarter than smartphones (153 million in Q2 2012). In total more Series 40 devices have been sold (around 1.7 billion) than every smartphone platform put together. For many people, a mobile phone is their primary computing device and the main way they access the Internet.
Timo Toikkanen, executive vice president, Mobile Phones, Nokia, said:
"Our innovative Asha Touch family of devices is designed for people who want a great smartphone experience with lower running costs. By introducing the Nokia Asha 308 and Nokia Asha 309, we're expanding our affordable smartphone lineup and bringing new mobile experiences to more people."
Asha 308 / 209 key hardware features
- Asha 308: Easy Swap Dual SIM - change SIM cards without turning off phone
- Asha 309: Single SIM with WiFi connectivity
- Dimensions of 109.9 x 54 x 13mm, weight of 10.3.89g
- 3 inch WQVGA (240 x 400) resistive multi-point (LCD transmissive) touch screen
- 800 MHz processor with 64MB RAM
- 20MB internal free memory and microSD card slot
- 2.0 megapixel camera, video recording at 176x144
- Dual-band 2G (GSM 900/1800 or 850/1900)
- Bluetooth 2.1, microUSB and 3.5mm AV connector
- Music Player and FM radio; loud speaker
- Accelerometer sensor
Asha 308 / 209 key software features
- Runs on Asha Touch, a full touch interface on top of Series 40 Developer Platform 2.0.
- Nokia Xpress Browser, a proxy based browser which speeds up web access
- Nokia Life+ web app, giving access to content spanning education, health and infotainment
- Nokia Nearby web app, lets people discover nearby places and shows results on a map
- 40 free EA games available through Nokia Store
- Nokia Maps
- Access to email, SMS and instant messaging services
- Access to Twitter and Facebook through pre-loaded Social application