To celebrate the anniversary, and to fully appreciate these innovative devices, we took the opportunity to reflect back on the concept and ideas that led to Nokia Asha in the first place.
B.A. (Before Asha)
Historically, Nokia has always had many different phones on offer. Many had names that could, to the uninitiated, read like a secret code. Each product had a clear purpose and benefit for the consumer, but the names often made it harder than necessary for people to find the right phone for them.
With Asha, Nokia sought to make choosing your next phone effortless.
The name was just the start. All the phones in the new family would also share certain characteristics. They would have internet access that didn’t cost the earth, social networking right out of the box, had the ability to download apps from the Nokia Store and, in the high-end of the family, the phones would have Nokia Maps.
The team were also clear that these phones had to set new benchmarks for Nokia’s already legendary battery life and overall product quality.
The first Asha phones were unveiled at Nokia World 2011 exactly one year ago.
Introducing the family
First out of the blocks were the Nokia Asha 200 and Nokia Asha 201. They were fun and colourful QWERTY messengers that brought a key partnership with WhatsApp – something that would prove immensely popular on Asha phones.
Also launched at Nokia World 2011 were the Nokia Asha 300 and Nokia Asha 303.
The Nokia Asha 303 was the first-ever Java based phone to come pre-loaded with Rovio’s smash hit, Angry Birds. Working with world-class partners to bring exciting apps and games would be a recurring feature throughout the rest of the year.
In late February 2012, new Asha models were also announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The Nokia Asha 202 and Asha Nokia 203 introduced our partnership with EA Games, bringing 40 premium games for consumers to download from the Nokia Store for free.
The summer saw the launch of our new Asha Touch smartphones – a range of affordable touchscreen smartphones with a quick and responsive user interface, cloud-accelerated Internet browser, easy access to social networks, thousands of apps, Nokia Maps and much, much more.
A busy and thrilling first year for the Asha family was capped just a few weeks ago with the announcement of the Nokia Asha 308 and Nokia Asha 309, the latest additions to the Asha Touch line-up.
“Right from the outset, we worked to create an innovative family of products that really blurred the lines between feature phones and smartphones in the marketplace,” says Neil Broadley, a Director in Nokia’s Mobile Phones Product Marketing team.
“Over the last 12 months we’ve continued to innovate so that our latest Asha Touch family are full smartphones. Asha Touch devices deliver against all the common consumer expectations of what a smartphone should be able to do and have recently been recognised as such by influential industry analysts GfK and IDC.”
Key to the success of Asha though is not just delivering on those experiences, but how they are doing it. The Nokia Xpress Browser, the social client and the way Nokia Maps are already pre-installed reduce data volumes and costs.
That’s a good first year then, but what does the future hold?
“Nokia will continue to innovate with the Asha family and we will continue to build upon the foundation that we’ve created. We’re not resting on our laurels,” says Neil.
“We are looking to build increasingly rich experiences and to enable cool new applications for our consumers. They are increasingly online and we want to give them a smarter way of making the most of the Internet.”