It might seem surprising that a budget mobile phone draws our attention. However, such is Nokia’s impact in developing world markets that the announcement of its Asha 310 device is hard for us to miss out.
The Asha is a new, dual-SIM mobile device that Nokia hopes will help them build on their significant market share in developing markets. Users will be offered the luxury of social networking through sites such as Facebook, as well as being able to download apps through the Nokia Store, which has over 125,000 applications for Series 40 devices.
Nokia, a struggler in the smartphone market against competitors such as Apple and Samsung, has seen huge success in emerging markets with its Series 40-operated handsets, which offer users a feature phone with some smartphone capabilities, such as access to the Internet, emails, and social networks. Global Stats reports that the operating system now accounts for 13% of devices being sold worldwide, with the new Asha software capable of offering users the opportunity to stream content from YouTube and download 40 free games from developer EA Sports.
However, the real benefit to consumers comes in the hardware with the new dual-SIM feature, which means users will be able to designate specific SIM cards for text, voice and data costs and switch between them at their convenience. WiFi support will also allow customers to browse at their leisure over traditional broadband and internet connections. In countries such as India and South Africa, where Nokia’s user base remains strong, these new facilities will prove invaluable, as users will be offered the ‘flexibility to enjoy more mobile experiences while managing their costs.’
This may also lead to network operators being able to serve more mobile ads in these markets, as consumers continue to uptake mobile devices with smartphone-like capabilities and cheaper or more effective data plans.