Nokia today unveiled the Nokia Asha 308 and Nokia Asha 309, the latest additions to the Asha Touch family of mobile devices. In its official statement, Nokia shares that it has released a new version of Nokia Xpress Browser, which it claims enables up to 90 percent more efficient mobile browsing and faster access to rich web applications compared to conventional browsers.

The new devices offer a fluid 'swipe' user interface and an open environment for third-party application development, characteristics that have earned the complete Asha Touch range full smartphone classification from global market research companies and analysts such as GfK and IDC.

Nokia Asha 308 unveiled

Nokia Asha 308 unveiled

“Our innovative Asha Touch family of devices is designed for people who want a great smartphone experience with lower running costs,” said Timo Toikkanen, executive vice president, Mobile Phones, Nokia. “By introducing the Nokia Asha 308 and Nokia Asha 309, we're expanding our affordable smartphone lineup and bringing new mobile experiences to more people.”

Nokia estimates the retail price for the Nokia Asha 308 and Nokia Asha 309 to be about USD 99, excluding taxes and subsidies, with shipping expected to start in the fourth quarter 2012.

According to Nokia, the Asha 308 and Nokia Asha 309 phones are its most affordable capacitive touchscreen devices to date. A view shared by independent analysts is that the Asha line represents great smartphones available for less than USD 99. “Nokia's Asha Touch family delivers all the core smartphone experiences, and with the new software developer kit, provides ever-increasing flexibility for developers to build compelling new experiences for consumers,” said Will Stofega, Mobile Phone Program Director, IDC.

Nokia Asha 309 unveiled

Nokia Asha 309 unveiled

The Nokia Asha 308 and Nokia Asha 309 are 2G-enabled devices featuring a 3.0-inch WQVGA capacitive display, multiple homescreens, stereo radio, loud speakers and up to 32GB microSD card support. The Nokia Asha 309 is the single SIM variant with Wi-Fi, while the Nokia Asha 308 is a dual SIM device featuring Nokia's industry-leading Easy Swap technology. Easy Swap enables people to switch between multiple SIM cards quickly and easily to get the best local tariffs without having to remove the battery or turn off the phone.

The phones also come with a free gift of 40 premium EA games, social features such as standalone Facebook and Twitter clients, the Nokia Messaging Service and video streaming through the browser from sites like YouTube – a first within the Asha Touch range.

Nokia also introduced two extensions to its Xpress Browser Internet platform, which the company calls the only cloud-based web browser to support web apps.

The Nokia Nearby web app helps people discover new places by searching nearby locations and presenting the options on a map. The service is available via Nokia Xpress Browser or as a feature within Nokia Maps.

Going further, the company adds that the Nokia Life+ web app will give millions of people access to content that spans education, health and infotainment to enhance their daily lives. Nokia Life+ is available in English across 18 countries, with local versions coming to India, China and Indonesia in the fourth quarter of this year. Nokia Life+ can be accessed through Nokia Xpress Browser or the Nokia Store.

Both the services work with Asha Touch smartphones. In addition to these services, Nokia also introduced a new web-based tool that makes it even easier to build new applications. With Nokia Xpress Web App Builder, publishers can create appealing web apps for Asha Touch devices, and even novices can turn their web content into a fun and sophisticated web app for Nokia consumers.

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