Nokia introduces a new feature phone platform

by Volker Weber

Nokia is finally getting ready to leave Series 40 feature phones behind. The Asha 501 is the first device built on a new platform based on Nokia's Smarterphone acquisition. Originally the company had higher aspirations with a new operating system developed in their Ulm/Germany lab. When this effort was killed, I did not know what other plans besides Series 40 Nokia had. This has changed today.

The Asha 501 is a low cost phone with very diminutive specs. QVA display, 2G radio for instance. But if you ever used the iconic N9 MeeGo handset, you will recognize a lot of similarities in the UX. What's astonishing here is the agility of its user interface.

This is not a first world handset. It works on spotty 2G networks with as little data as possible. Nokia uses the Xpress browser which transcodes and compresses data on a proxy. If you have a Lumia phone, you can use the same technology to save bandwidth.

The big elephant in the room is Facebook. 90 carriers worldwide are set to provide free access to Facebook on the new Asha 501 phone. This is the Facebook phone that is going to bring a hundred million new users.

Comments

Given the schtick that Elop received yesterday, is this an option do you think for "smarter" phones (ie: with better kit), or is it not architected for higher-spec hardware?

Mat Newman, 2013-05-09

Meltimi was the code-name for Nokia's own OS for the low-end smartphones and it was mainly developed at the development center in Ulm/Germany.

Horst Graf, 2013-05-09

Thanks, Horst. Yes, I mixed it up. Ulm it is and not Augsburg.

Volker Weber, 2013-05-09

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