The Empire Strikes Back (Nokia Asha Version)


Last year, Nokia acquired Smarterphone, a small Norwegian company that has an operating system designed for more basic cell phones. Back then, the press release of the acquisition included the following:

Smarterphone is based in Oslo, Norway and delivers an operating system for the feature phone segment of mobile handsets. The software makes it possible to deliver a user experience similar to smart phones on affordable hardware, and allows unique flexibility for tailoring handset software to different markets.

Nokia’s Asha range of phones have been hitherto powered by Nokia’s revamped S40 UI. Nokia’s Asha brand is now powered by a new software platform appropriately named Asha and different from S40. According to Nokia’s official statement, the new Asha “fully leverages Nokia’s investments in Smarterphone, which it acquired in 2012 and builds on the best aspects of Series 40 to create something fresh and innovative. The result is an evolutionary operating system that is fast, responsive and easy to use.”

The new interface is reminiscent of the user interface on the Nokia N9, using swipe events for navigation, among others. It features two home screens – Fastlane, which displays your information and notifications, and an app drawer. That is very much like what we saw on the Nokia N9. It is not clear yet whether or not Nokia has included multi-tasking in this new OS. Quite a number of fans will be disappointed if this feature isn’t present. The new Asha OS is being introduced on the new Nokia Asha 501.

What does this development indicate? Nokia isn’t giving up the low-end market without a fight, and it seems that Windows Phone is unable to address that market yet. My experience with the most basic WP Lumias running 256MB have been less than pleasant. Clearly, an OS targeted at low-end devices and that is fast, responsive and easy to use is required. To this end, the empire has struck back. The Nokia empire.

Thanks, EyeBeeKay, for the tip off.

About Moverick
AKA Mister Mobility. Owned over 100 mobiles. Maverick. Techie. Blogger. Entrepreneur. Agony Aunt. Adventurer. Amateur musician. Ladies man. Follow him on Twitter @Mister_Mobility, on LinkedIn at YomiAdegboye, and circle him on Google+. Listen to his music on SoundCloud.

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5 comments for “The Empire Strikes Back (Nokia Asha Version)

  1. eye_bee_kay
    May 9, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Basically, they would, more or less, be pitching SnarterPhone against bargain basement Androids.

    Not sure this us an equal match.

    It should be a tough battle indeed!

  2. May 9, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Nokia should ask themselves honestly if they would take a Nokia Asha 501 over a basement android phone like the Techno N3.
    I love Nokia but if ask to make a choice in the above scenario I would take the Techno at least I would be able play temple run and use some apps that don’t require too much ram to run.

  3. May 9, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    If this phone (or atleast a future 3G model) has exceptional battery life like they say it does, doesn’t lag, and lets me install all the apps I want without complaint, I can see myself getting it as a secondary phone. The UI is compelling enough.

  4. May 9, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    As my primary phone, certainly not. You know when you have been introduced to the good-life and previous “luxury” have lost their appeal? that’s where I am now. Its either Android or something better. For a secondary mobile phone, one with flashlight, radio and without an OS would suffice.

    Would Asha OS gain precious footing for the Fins? Doubtful

  5. Emmaachile
    May 10, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    The phone will multi task. See this link: Q&A with Stephen Elop on the Asha 501. But nokia asha os will be no match to low end android period.

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