Nokia announced three new budget mobile phones -Asha 500, Asha 502 and Asha 503 – at the Nokia World 2013 in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Nokia’s chief executive officer, Stephen Elop directly started off the keynote with the announcement of these three new devices. The new Asha 500, Asha 502 and Asha 503 have a special design treatment with crystal clear glass-like back panel casing and updated Asha software platform.
The new Asha series of devices go a step ahead in terms of design, interface and value offering to keep all three devices under the $100 (Rs 6100) mark before local taxes. The new Asha 500 is the most affordable priced at $69 (Rs 4285), Asha 502 for $89 (Rs 5500) and finally Asha 503 for $99 (Rs 6100).
Like the other Asha series handsets, the new phones have also the same Lumia design elements. With clean front and back panel, the new Asha 500, Asha 502 and Asha 503 sport Lumia-eseque design carrying ahead the legacy of the Asha 501.
Nokia has used a new crystal clear glass panel over the previously textured back panel to offer more premium and rich look to these entry level devices. Almost two mm layer of the glass panel stuck together with plastic back panel can be easily removed. Just like the Asha 501, the three new Asha devices will also have interchangeable back covers just in case the user is feeling festive.
The new Asha series handsets though do not have the physical back button in the front; instead they now have a capacitive button. Other keys remain the same at the right side – volume control and power key. With several colour options, it is difficult to spot out the Asha 502 from Asha 503 and Asha 500. The easiest way is to look at the back side.
The Asha 500 features a 2 megapixel camera without any flash and there are no other obstructions except the button like surface to rest thumb while pushing back the rear panel to open it. Also the Asha 500 features a 2.8 inch display and supports 2G network with dual-SIM as well as single SIM options. Nokia has packed a 1200 mAh battery to offer great run time.
Both Asha 502 and Asha 503 come with 5 megapixel camera at the back with LED flash. The only way spot the difference is that the Asha 502 has slightly different camera-LED flash placements. The Asha 503 has minimalistic back and is also 4.04-inch taller than other two phones. The new Asha 502 and Asha 503 devices feature a 3-inch display with a capacitive back button in the front.
Out of these three devices, the Asha 502 will be offered only in dual-SIM version. The Asha 500 and Asha 503 will be offered in both dual-SIM as well as single-SIM versions.
Nokia has also updated the Asha software platform for the new Asha 500, Asha 502 and Asha 503 devices. The new Asha interface includes a quick access to the camera app right from the single upward swipe gesture from the lock screen. As always, Nokia continues to promote the Asha series as the single swipe access experience.
The phones come with a new camera app that offer several interesting options including – live filters. The live filters can be accessed by a long press on the screen in the camera app interface. Then the settings menu will show up from the bottom. On scrolling down the settings offers the Live Filter options followed by the resolution choices.
Fastlane has been updated to become more interactive and will show important bits of information for the social networking apps. Details such as Likes and Comments will easily be visible in the Fastlane panel. The Fastlane is accessible with a single swipe from the lock screen that shows the notifications of the new messages, missed calls and more. Even the Glance screen shows these notifications.
The Fastlane now integrates information about apps used in past and present in more comprehensive manner. The Facebook and Twitter updates show up with responses on either of the updates. There is a single press access to the app directly from the Fastlane panel.
A new version of WhatsApp will be made available for the Asha series as well. The new WhatsApp app will allow sharing images, voice messaging and group chat functionality as well. Apart from that, there are several pre-loaded apps that will offer the Asha 500, Asha 502 and Asha 503 mobile phones ready to use out of the box.
Nokia is working with developers to bring most smartphone level apps to be re-coded for Java platform and then make it usable over the Asha software platform devices. The Asha 500, Asha 502 and Asha 503 really feel great in hands and are very comfortable to use with a single hand.
Transparent polycarbonate casing clad Asha 500, Asha 502 and Asha 503 will be offered in the usual Nokia bold colours – Yellow, White, Black, Red and Cyan.