Nokia announced a new low-end touchscreen addition to its Asha family, Asha 501, which is the first to run on a new version of the vendor’s Asha mass-market device platform.
The troubled device maker also announced tools to enable developers to create apps targeting “sub-$100” devices using the new platform, stating that it “expects to sell 100 million of the new generation Asha smartphones over the coming years”.
While the company’s smartphone woes have drawn significant attention during the last few years, its last set of quarterly reports showed that its mass-market devices business is not immune from increased competition from low-cost device makers focused in China and India.
The company has been particularly weak in the ultra low-cost touchscreen market, which the new Asha product family is designed to address.
According to the company, Asha 501 is expected to be available through “approximately 60 operators and distributors in more than 90 countries worldwide” when it begins shipping next month. The suggested price is $99 before taxes and subsidies.
Nokia’s press release included supporting statements from America Movil, Telkomsel (Indonesia), Airtel Africa and MTN.
Asha 501 has a 3-inch touch screen, includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and will be available in both single and dual-SIM versions. It also has a 3.2 megapixel camera.
The device currently lacks 3G support.
The vendor also said that Asha 501 will gain support for its Here location-based services platform later this year, which will “initially include basic mapping services”.
App developers can target the new Asha-family devices through a set of tools to enable Java apps to be created, tested, packaged and deployed for the new platform.
Apps can be sold via the Nokia Store, and will support in-app payment and advertising services provided by Nokia.
The company said that the new Asha platform uses technology gained through its acquisition of Smarterphone in 2012.