Asha series phones are very popular in India and Nokia launched the Asha 500, 502 and 503 on Tuesday. All of these will be available in India in the coming weeks, five months after Nokia launched Asha 501 the first device to ship with Asha OS. The operating system now has improvements such as better privacy features (choose which updates show up on the homescreen) and improved camera and photo sharing interface. WhatsApp co-founder Jan Kuom was at the event to announce that the messaging application will be available on the new Asha phones in a few weeks. Asha 500 costs $69 (roughly Rs 4,200), 502 is priced at $89 (around Rs 4,800) and the 503, which has 3G connectivity, will be available for $99 (Rs 6,000 approx.).
This announcement marked Nokia's entry into the tablet market, as the company launched the 10.1-inch Lumia 2520, which runs Microsoft Windows RT 8.1 and supports 4G LTE and WiFi connectivity. Nokia has adopted an aggressive pricing strategy for the tablet, which will be available in the US later this year for $499 (roughly Rs 30,000). Nokia did not announce if this tablet would be launched in India. The company said users can charge around 80 per cent of the battery in an hour. The battery lasts up to 11 hours on a single charge. Nokia claims the Lumia 2520 provides the best reading experience under sunlight.
During the launch, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said, Tablet usage is the highest early in the morning and late in the evening. We want to change that. Lumia 2520 is good for consumption and productivity. Keeping that in mind, Nokia announced a keyboard accessory for the Lumia 2520. Nokia Power Keyboard, priced at $149 (Rs 7,500) has a trackpad and doubles up as a battery pack for the tablet. It can provide an extra five hours of battery for the tablet.
Two six-inch phones, Lumia 1320 ($339) and 1520 ($749) were added to the Lumia family of smartphones on Tuesday. These will be available in the US this year and in India early next year. The 1520 has a 20-MP PureView camera and allows users to use its bigger screen with a third row of tiles. This means users can have more tiles on their home screen (up to six small tiles side by side). The 1520 has a 1080-pixel display and four microphones for better video recording. The 1320 has a lower-resolution 720-pixel screen.
NEW APPS TOO
Nokia made several app-related announcements on Tuesday. For its tablet users, Nokia has made an app called Video Director users edit and share videos easily. Flipboard, a news aggregator app that displays articles in a beautiful magazine format, is coming to Windows RT soon. Windows Phone users will be relieved to hear that Instagram, one of the world's most popular photo-sharing apps, and Vine (short video sharing), are coming to the platform soon. Nokia Storyteller is an interesting app that uses your location to mark photos on a map. This lets users view their travels, in pictures, across the world on a map.
PRICE: AT A GLANCE
Nokia announced five new phones and a tablet. Their prices and availability are listed below
Asha 500 (2-MP, 2.8-inch screen, 2G): $69 (Rs 4,200), 2013
Asha 502 (5-MP, 3-inch screen, 2G): $89 (Rs 4,500), 2013
Asha 503 (5-MP, 3-inch screen, 3G): $99 (Rs 6,000), 2013
Lumia 1320 (5-MP, 6-inch screen, 4G LTE, 8GB memory): $339 (Rs 20,340), Q1 2014
Lumia 1520 (20.7-MP, 6-inch screen): $749 (Rs 45,000), Q1 2014
Lumia 2520 (6.7-MP, 10.1-inch screen): $499 (Rs 30,000), India availability not announced
All INR prices are rough estimates
(The reporter was in Abu Dhabi on invitation from Nokia)