Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NOK) Plan B: A New $99 Asha Handset

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Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) unveiled its Plan B, which CEO Stephen Elop said they didn’t have, today in New Delhi. The big event was announced on Wednesday, and it ended up being the unveiling of the $99 Nokia Asha 501 handset, which runs Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V)’s newly redesigned Asha operating system.

Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NOK) Plan B: A New $99 Asha Handset

The Windows-only strategy was criticized by investors just yesterday, but they didn’t have to wait long to find out what Nokia really had up its sleeve. Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V)’s most recent quarterly report indicated not only that its Windows 8 Lumia handsets were taking over its product portfolio, but also that its Asha models and other low end phones were quickly being rejected. The Asha handsets had an almost 50 percent sequential decline, so revamping the Asha operating system may be precisely what Nokia needs to get back into the low end phone market.

Nokia’s Asha 501

The new low-end device is a small handset with a 3-inch touch screen and a 3.2 megapixel camera, according to The Inquirer contributor Carly Page. It will be available in six colors and have 4 gigs of internal storage plus additional slots to expand storage up to 32 gigs.

The Asha 501 will also offer 2G and Wi-Fi, plus a battery that lasts 17 hours and different models with dual and single SIM cards. The device is expected to capitalize on Nokia’s partnership with Facebook. It will also be bundled with 40 free games valued at €75 and the Here mapping app.

Nokia’s New Asha Operating System

Nokia said it sped up the Asha operating system and made it more responsive, and like its other phones, there is a strong focus on apps. The software has an open standards based environment so that developers can easily make apps for it.

The new handset isn’t expected to be available for purchase until June.

Shares of Nokia rose as much as 1.42 percent at the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday in pre-market trading.

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