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By 13 April 2012 | Categories: news

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Nokia last night launched its Asha range of feature phones in South Africa, at a function held at Art’s on Main in Johannesburg. The Asha 303, Asha 302 and Asha 201 all sport digit-loving QWERTY keyboards and are aimed at the youth segment of the local mobile phone market, with services such as Facebook chat, MXit, Angry Birds Lite and WhatsApp in toe.

Nokia believes that these devices will appeal to users that crave the same level of functionality available via smartphones, but at a much more affordable price point.

Nokia Asha 303

Leading the local Asha charge is the 303 (116.5 x 55.7 x 13.9 mm, 99 g), which couples a QWERTY keyboard with a 2.6" capacitive (240 x 320 pixels, 154 ppi pixel density) touchscreen. This mobile phone is powered by a zippy 1 GHz processor (make not specified) with makes especially quick work of running apps and navigating Nokia’s S40 mobile operating system (OS). Although users only have access to around 100 MB of onboard storage, they will be able to expand upon this via a microSD memory card with support for cards up to 32 GB in size.

When it comes to connectivity, this feature phone boasts HSDPA, Wi-Fi 802.11n support, along with Bluetooth version 2.1 + EDR. Espoo claims that the Asha 303’s 1300 mAh battery will deliver a music playback time of up to 47 hours, standby time of as much as 840 hours and up to seven hours of talktime. Also onboard is a 3.5 mm audio jack, Stereo FM radio with RDS, a 3.2 megapixel fixed-focus camera and Nokia Browser, which like Opera Software’s Opera Mini browser compresses webpages by up to 90%. The recommended retail price of the Asha 303 is R1799.

Nokia Asha 302

Nokia’s Asha 302 sports a similar form factor (115.2 x 58.9 x 13.5 mm, 106 g) to that of the Nokia E5 smartphone, merging a finger-friendly QWERTY keyboard with a 2.4" QVGA (240 x 320, 167 ppi pixel density) TFT display (non-touchscreen).

This mobile phone is the first in the Asha series (or Series 40-operating device) to provide users with access to Mail for Exchange, enabling them to manage all their corporate emails and synchronise their mail contacts and calendar.

You receive around 140 MB worth of internal phone storage on the Asha 302, but can expand this to up to 32 GB via the use of a microSD memory card slot. As with the 303, the Asha 302 also features a 1 GHz CPU,  3.2 MP camera, enhanced stereo FM radio, music player, as well as 3.5 mm audio jack. The RRP of the Asha 302 is budget-friendly R1399.

Nokia Asha 201

The Asha 201 (115.5 x 61.1 x 14 mm, 105 g) retails for R999, making it the most affordable device in the Asha range. For that amount you get stereo FM radio, a 2 MP snapper, push email support, and support for microSD cards up to 32 GB, which you’ll need since this mobile features a measly 10 MB internal storage.

Like its Asha brethren it sports a QWERTY keyboard and offers a 2.4" (240 x 320, 167 ppi pixel density) non-touch enabled display. According to Nokia users will get an impressive 888 hours standby time or whopping 52 hours of music playback from a single charge courtesy of the Asha 302’s large 1430 mAh battery.

“Consumers are calling out for the right mix of style and substance,” said Colin Baumgart, general manager of Nokia South Africa. “We want to deliver phones that look great, but also give the richest possible experience in calling, texting or browsing the web. We believe that ‘QWERTY’ is not just a feature, but a movement of expression that opens up communications in different communities, and that is why we are calling on consumers to join The QWERTY Movement.”

In related news, Nokia also recently provided preliminary information about certain aspects of its Q1 2012 financial performance, which include a lowered Q1 2012 outlook for the company’s Devices and Services business.

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