Later this year, local versions of the service will be available in India, China, and Indonesia. Currently the information services are available in English in 18 countries including the U.S., U.K., Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Vietnam.
The Nokia Asha 308 and Nokia Asha 309 comes with a new version of Nokia Xpress Browser, which Nokia claims enables up to 90% more efficient mobile browsing and faster access to rich web applications compared to conventional browsers.
Nokia estimates the retail price for the Nokia Asha 308 and Nokia Asha 309 to be about $99, excluding taxes and subsidies, with shipping expected to start in the fourth quarter of this year.
The company’s feature phone volumes showed healthy, single-digit annual growth in the second quarter, bolstered by Nokia’s expanding portfolio of dual-SIM and Asha models for emerging markets, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.
The Asha 308 and 309 are 2G-enabled devices featuring a 3.0-inch Wide QVGA capacitive display, multiple home screens, stereo radio, loud speakers and up to 32GB microSD card support, Nokia said. While the Asha 309 is the single SIM (subscriber identity module) variant with Wi-Fi, the Nokia Asha 308 is a dual-SIM device that features the company’s Easy Swap technology for switching between SIM cards.
Dual-SIM phones have proved to be popular in emerging markets where users like to take advantage of offers from various operators.
The new phones use Nokia’s low-end Series 40 software platform and hence most analysts do not count them as smartphones, even though Nokia itself sells them as smart devices in emerging markets.
Nokia has to use its low-end software for the new $100 phones as Windows Phone requirements for hardware are too high for such cheap phones. Nokia’s cheapest Windows Phone retails for around $200.
Nokia Life+ is a follow on to an earlier service called Life which didn’t require a data connection. Life+ is accessible as a download from a Nokia Store or from the Xpress Browser. Nokia has tied up with various global and local content providers including Reader’s Digest and Sina.