Lurking within the seamless body of the Nokia Asha 501 is an operating system, the Asha Platform, which is every bit as remarkable as the industrial design on the outside.
The Asha 501 is the first smartphone built on the new Asha platform, which fully leverages Nokia’s investments in Smarterphone, which it acquired in 2012, and also builds upon the foundation provided by Series 40.
It has an intuitive new user experiences, such as Fastlane, and deeply embeds social networks and connectivity right at the heart of the Asha 501 smartphone.
For developers, the new Asha platform gives them an open, standards-based environment for creating quality apps. Any app created for the Nokia Asha 501 will be compatible with all future Asha platform devices.
Plus, developers have a great opportunity to monetise their apps through the global reach of the Nokia Store with tools such as Nokia In-App Payment, Nokia Advertising Exchange (NAX) and Nokia’s unrivalled operator billing network.
“The existing platform is doing a great job for us but we can’t allow ourselves to stand still,” says Anders Helm, Nokia’s software programme manager for the Asha platform.
Eyes to the future
A key objective for the operating system on the Asha 501 was to offer all the experiences that people enjoy, and that they expect, on a high-end smartphone.
Together with the day-to-day usage, this also means the ability to deliver future software updates that will introduce further improvements, extra features and functionalities.
As well as being more flexible, the Nokia team also worked hard to make the Asha platform, faster, lighter and more agile. Anders says an operating system with flexibility and stability is a ‘unique combination.’
Trickle down innovations
Giving people smartphone experiences is one thing; another hurdle that has been cleared with the Asha 501 is delivering them at such a low price point.
In terms of value for money, the Asha 501 goes ‘beyond anything that we could have imagined a couple of years back,’ Anders tells me.
“With the Asha platform we can deliver smartphone user experiences on hardware that is much more affordable, on less memory and much less CPU. It has better battery life too,” he says.
The theme here is consistent with what Nokia has been doing for a while – bringing high-end innovations and experiences to more people at lower price points.
This work continues even after you’ve paid for the device. A solution such as the Nokia Xpress browser is designed to help more people get online, and to do so faster and cheaper.
Simple, not complicated
The team behind the Asha platform are totally focussed on the experience that people will get when they are using the Asha 501. They say:
“The Asha Software teams have worked hard for many months to ensure that we bring the best experience to the hands of the consumer.”
They have built on the best aspects of what they already had, leveraged all their learning and put it all together to create a smartphone experience that is fresh and intuitive.
“Smartphones don’t have to be complicated. The user experience and user interface on the Asha 501 lets you do things very easily,” says Anders.
“Some competitor devices are surprisingly difficult. We wanted to hide the technical details and create a device that was a joy to use. That was our focus and it is something we have achieved.”