Tag Archives: Nokia

Nokia Introduces Entry Level Smartphone Asha 501 in India [Hands-On]

The distinction between smartphones and dumb phones has continuously blurred over the past few years with the plummeting prices of smartphones and the increasing capabilities of the so called dumb phones. Nokia Asha 501 burrs this line further with smartphone like features at a low price point.

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The Nokia Asha 501 sports a 3-inch QVGA (320×240) resolution display with capacitive touchscreen. The touchscreen is capable of discerning up to two simultaneous touches, which allows it to detect simple gestures like pinch-to-zoom. As far as picture clarity is concerned, it is what you’d expect from a display with 133 ppi pixel density. Viewing angles are decent, but I didn’t get the opportunity to test the display outdoors. With the Asha 501, Nokia is introducing its new OS called “Nokia Asha software platform”, which is targeted at budget handsets. The Asha software platform comes with its own app store, and as many as fifty preloaded apps. Asha apps are essentially Java apps, and apparently porting existing J2ME apps is fairly straight forward. Nokia has reached out to developers to ensure that the phone launches with popular games like Asphalt 6 (preloaded), Need for Speed Shift, and Ninja Fruit Cutter. Nokia’s excellent HERE maps is also supported, however isn’t preloaded. However, due to the absence of a dedicated GPS chip, it will presumably rely on cell towers for location information.

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The Asha software platform seemed intuitive and well designed from the brief hands-on time I got with the 501. The user interface is strongly driven, with a swipe up bringing up a context menu, a swipe down revealing the notifications, and a swipe to the left or right opening the ‘Fastlane’. The Fastlane is sort of an extended notifications area that Nokia touts as the hub for your past, present, and future. The Fastlane keeps track of everything you’re doing and lists the past fifty activities. This includes your recent contacts, the apps you’ve used, and the songs you’ve listened to. Tapping on any one of the items opens up the relevant app. You can directly update your Facebook or Twitter stream from the Fastlane without having to open up a new app. Additionally, it shows the upcoming events from your calendar. The low-end hardware did cause some hiccups, and some of the apps seemed prone to crashing, but the phone behaved reasonably well. The apps developed by Nokia are mostly beautiful, especially the Alarm and Music app, however third-party apps were a bit all over the place.

On the multimedia front, there is a 3.15 megapixel rear camera, which performs about as well as you can expect a camera in this price range to perform. It captures QVGA video at 15 FPS and snaps images with a resolution of 2048×1536 pixels. The Asha 501 supports audio and video playback, and includes a well done music player that even allows you to share music with other Asha phones by tapping two handsets. This utilizes a new feature called ‘Slam’, which can also be used for sharing images and other files. Slam works like the tap to send features we see in high end handsets; however, instead of using NFC, which low-end smartphones don’t support, it works purely using Bluetooth. On the connectivity front, the Asha is a dual-SIM handset with 2G and W-Fi (b/g) support, but it leaves out 3G. This is a surprising omission from a handset that is otherwise pretty feature packed. Nokia believes that consumers who pick the Asha 501 over other budget smartphones like the Lumia 520 are unlikely to have 3G connectivity, which still remains fairly expensive. Given that according to TRAI, only about 2% of Indian mobile subscribers are on 3G, Nokia may be onto something. Nevertheless, I would certainly like to see a 3G enabled version in the future, even if it costs a thousand bucks more.

One of the biggest concerns with smartphones is its battery life. The Asha 501 comes with a 1200 mAh battery, which isn’t exactly massive. However, thanks to the Asha platform, Nokia expects the 501 to last at least a couple of days for most people. Talk time is rated at 17 hours, and music playback at 56 hours.

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The Nokia Asha is a low-end smartphone meant for folks who want a capable touch screen phone from a reputed brand but are on an extremely tight budget. It’s available in six attractive colors (White, Black, Yellow, Red, Green, and Blue) and costs Rs. 5199. Spending about three thousand bucks more will get you the Lumia 520 or a bunch of low-end Android smartphones from the likes of Samsung, Sony, and LG. However, if you don’t have that extra three thousand, then Asha offers a tempting option. It allows you to upload pics on Facebook, check-in to Foursquare, follow latest trends on Twitter, surf websites on Nokia Express browser, listen to music, and more. The Asha 501 takes care of most basic user requirements, and throws in the convenience of a capacitive touchscreen. The lack of 3G still irks me; however, as far as first impressions go, the Asha made its mark on me.

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Nokia Lumia 925 Announced; Comes With A Sleek Metallic Design

Nokia recently unveiled the new Windows Phone 8 based Lumia 925 smartphone. This handset is the successor of the company’s previous flagship device, the Nokia Lumia 920. It comes with the new Nokia Smart Camera mode which allows you to capture ten images at once and edit the pictures with options like Best Shot, Action Shot and Motion Focus. The Nokia Lumia 925 is made entirely of metal, instead of the shiny polycarbonate materials used in the previous Lumia smartphones.

Jo Harlow, executive vice president of Nokia Smart Devices, said,
“We keep innovating. We’re advancing experiences on the Nokia Lumia portfolio whether that means great new benefits for an existing Lumia owner, or bringing new showcase devices like the Nokia Lumia 925.”

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Nokia Lumia 925 features a 4.5 inch AMOLED WXGA display, sporting a resolution of 1280 x 768 pixels, Gorilla Glass 2, 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, Windows Phone 8 OS, 8.7 megapixel camera with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), autofocus and dual LED flash, Full HD (1080p) video recording at 30fps, 1.2 megapixel front-facing HD camera, Nokia Smart Camera mode, 1 GB RAM, 16 GB internal memory, 64 GB expandable memory and more.

It also comes with a 3.5mm headset jack, Office 365, Xbox Live, A-GPS, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, 3G Connectivity, IE9 with HTML 5 support, 7 GB Microsoft SkyDrive cloud storage, USB 2.0, Bluetooth 3.0 + EDR, NFC (Near Field Communication) with SIM based security, Here Maps, Here Drive+, Wireless charging support, up to 55 hours of music playback in offline mode, up to 12.8 hours of talk-time, up to 440 hours of stand-by time and a 2000 mAh battery.

The Nokia Lumia 925 will be available in White, Grey and Black colors. This handset measures 129 x 70.6 x 8.5 mm and weighs 139 grams. The Nokia Lumia 925 will go on sale from next month in UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and China, followed by the US and other markets. This handset will be priced around €469 (approx. $600) excluding taxes.

Nokia Asha 501 Announced; Comes With The New Asha Platform

Nokia recently announced the first device in the new Asha family of smartphones. The Nokia Asha 501 is also the first handset to run on the new Asha platform. The design of this handset is quite similar to the Nokia’s Lumia range of smartphone. Most of the popular applications are already available or in development for the Nokia Asha platform, including CNN, eBuddy, ESPN, Facebook, Foursquare, Line, LinkedIn, Nimbuzz, The Weather Channel, Twitter, WeChat and much more.

The Nokia Asha 501 allows you to access everything you like with a simple swipe and a choice of two main screens: Home and Fastlane. Home is basically the traditional app drawer, while the new Fastlane allows you to view recently accessed contacts, social networks and other important apps. It also provides a record of how the phone is used by displaying a glimpse of our past, present and future activity.

Neil Mawston, executive director, Global Wireless Practice, Strategy Analytics, said,
“Nokia has surpassed expectations of what’s achievable in the sub-100 USD phone category with a new Asha handset that is unlike any other, with design cues from Lumia and a mix of features, services and affordability that is valued by price-conscious buyers. This is a welcome addition to the market and a refreshing option for consumers looking to upgrade from feature phones.”

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Nokia Asha 501 features a 3 inch QVGA display, sporting a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels, Nokia Asha platform, 2 megapixel camera with 4x digital zoom, Nokia Xpress Browser, Nokia Life+, 128 MB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, 4 GB MicroSD card included, GPRS/EDGE, Wi-Fi Connectivity, 2.0 mm charger connector, Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR, Micro USB, 3.5 mm headset jack, Micro USB connector, Slam feature, up to 48 days of stand-by time, up to 17 hours of talk-time and a 1200 mAh battery.

This handset measures 99.2 x 58 x 12.1 mm and weighs just 98 grams. The Nokia Asha 210 will be available in Red, Yellow, Black, White, Cyan and Green colors. Airtel subscribers in India and Africa will be able to enjoy unlimited, data-free access to Facebook from their Nokia Asha 501 smartphone. This handset will be available in both single SIM and dual SIM variants. The Nokia Asha 501 will go on sale from next month for just $99 excluding taxes.

Nokia Unveils Asha 210 With Dedicated WhatsApp Key

We have already seen a number of entry-level and mid-range smartphones with a dedicated Facebook button. Even Nokia tried their luck with the entry-level Asha 205 which came with a dedicated Facebook and QQ button in India and China respectively. Today, Nokia announced the world’s first QWERTY phone with a dedicated WhatsApp key, the Nokia Asha 210. WhatsApp is offering their service for free on all Nokia Asha 210 devices with the WhatsApp button for their lifespan.

Timo Toikkanen, executive vice president, Mobile Phones, Nokia, said,
“The Nokia Asha 210 really stands out giving super-social consumers new ways to express their personalities through design, colour and innovations like the world’s first WhatsApp button. It has been designed to allow people to easily update their social networks, stay in touch with friends and share user created content.”

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Nokia Asha 210 features a 2.4 inch QVGA display, sporting a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels, Series 40 Asha UI, full QWERTY keyboard, 2 megapixel camera with 4x digital zoom, Nokia Xpress Browser, Nokia Life+, 64 MB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, GPRS/EDGE, Wi-Fi Connectivity, 2.0 mm charger connector, Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR, Micro USB, 3.5 mm headset jack, Slam feature, up to 24 days of stand-by time, up to 12 hours of talk-time and a 1200 mAh battery.

This handset measures 111.5 mm x 60 mm x 11.8 mm and weighs just 97.3 grams. The Nokia Asha 210 will be available in Yellow, Black, White, Cyan, Magenta colors. This handset will be available in both single SIM and dual-SIM variants. The Nokia Asha 210 will go on sale in the second quarter of 2013 for just $72 excluding taxes.

Nokia Lumia 520 Up For Pre-Order In India

Last month, Nokia unveiled the entry-level Lumia 520 and mid-range Lumia 720 smartphones at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2013 in Barcelona. These devices are powered by the Windows Phone 8 Operating System. Nokia India’s official store as well as Flipkart has already started accepting the pre-orders of the Lumia 520. It is touted to be the cheapest Windows Phone 8 smartphone.

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Nokia Lumia 520 features a 4 inch WVGA display, sporting a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, 1 Ghz Qualcomm MSM8227 dual-core processor, Windows Phone 8 OS, 5 megapixel rear camera with autofocus and LED flash, HD (720p) video recording and playback, 512 MB RAM, 8 GB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 64 GB expandable memory and much more.

Other features include a 3.5mm headset jack, A-GPS, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, 3G Connectivity, Office 365, Xbox Live, IE9 with HTML 5 support, 7 GB Microsoft SkyDrive cloud storage, USB 2.0, Bluetooth 3.0 + EDR, Nokia Drive, Nokia Maps, Bing Maps, up to 61 hours of music playback in offline mode, up to 10 hours of talk-time, up to 360 hours of stand-by time and a 1430 mAh battery.

The Nokia Lumia 520 comes with a price-tag of just Rs.10,499 (approx. $190) in India. This handset is expected to go on sale from the second week of April. If you want to experience the Windows Phone 8 OS without burning a hole in your pocket, then you should definitely go ahead and get the Lumia 520. You can pre-order this device from Nokia India’s online store as well as from Flipkart.

Nokia Lumia 720 And Lumia 520 Press Shots Leaked

Last year, Nokia launched three Windows Phone 8 powered smartphones — the entry-level Lumia 620, the mid-range Lumia 820 and the high-end Lumia 920. This week, the Finnish mobile phone manufacturer is expected to launch two new devices — the Lumia 520 and Lumia 720 at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2013 in Barcelona.

As the name suggest, the Lumia 520 and Lumia 720 are the successor of the last generation Lumia 510 and Lumia 710 smartphones. @evleaks, which is popularly known for tweeting the leaked press shots and specs of the upcoming smartphones is back with the leaked images of the Nokia Lumia 720 and Lumia 520. The image shown below is the press shot of Lumia 720, while the image posted below is the Lumia 520.

Nokia has codenamed the Lumia 520 and Lumia 720 as Flame and Zeal respectively. The specs of these devices are currently unknown. However, the Lumia 720 is expected to come with a 4.3 inch display, 1 GHz dual-core processor, 512 MB RAM, and 8 GB internal storage, while the Lumia 520 is expected to pack a 4 inch display, 1 GHz dual-core processor, 512 MB RAM, 5-megapixel camera, 4 GB internal storage and much more.

Both of these devices will run on the newer Windows Phone 8 Operating System. The designs of Lumia 520 and Lumia 720 are strikingly similar to what we have previously seen with the Lumia 820 and Lumia 920. We also know that these devices will be launched with a number of vibrant colors. If these rumors are true, there won’t be much surprise for Nokia fans at the Mobile World Congress 2013.

Nokia Asha 310 Announced; Comes With Easy Swap Dual SIM and Wi-Fi

Nokia recently unveiled the newest member of its Asha family, the Nokia Asha 310. It is the company’s first dual-SIM device which comes with the much needed Wi-Fi connectivity. The Nokia Asha 310 comes pre-loaded with Nokia Xpress Browser, which compresses Internet data by up to 90% and delivers a fast browsing experience. This handset comes with the Nokia’s unique Easy Swap technology which allows you to switch SIM cards without turning off the phone.

Timo Toikkanen, executive vice president, Mobile Phones, Nokia, said:
“The Nokia Asha 310 is the first-ever Nokia smartphone to offer both Easy Swap Dual SIM and Wi-Fi in the same device. It gives consumers the best of both worlds, allowing them to separate work and play, or speak with friends on other mobile networks more affordably. The addition of Wi-Fi support gives users the freedom to enjoy much more of the Internet compared to competitive devices at this price point.”

Nokia Asha 310 features a 3.0 inch WQVGA scratch resistant capacitive touchscreen display, sporting a resolution of 240 x 400 pixels, Series 40 Asha Touch, 1 GHz processor, 2 megapixel camera, GPRS/EDGE, Wi-Fi Connectivity, Internet Radio, loud and clear inbuilt speaker, Nokia Life, 2.0 mm charger connector, Bluetooth 2.1, Micro USB 2.0 and so on.

Other features include a 3.5 mm headset jack, Music player, FM Radio, 20 MB internal memory, 32 GB expandable memory, Micro SD card slot, 4 GB Micro SD card bundled, Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, Ambient Light sensor, Nokia Browser, up to 25 days of stand-by time, up to 17 hours of talk-time and a 1110 mAh battery.

Nokia Asha 310 measures 109.9 mm x 54 mm x 13 mm and weighs just 104 grams. This handset will be available in Black, White and Golden Light colors. The Nokia Asha 310 comes with a price tag of $102 (approx. Rs.5,500) excluding taxes. This handset will go on sale from the Q1 of 2013 in Asia, India, the Middle East, Africa and Brazil.

Nokia Announces Music+ For $3.99 Per Month

Nokia has just announced Music+, a premium music streaming service for Lumia devices. The service will cost $3.99 per month in the United States and €3.99 per month in Europe. The service is essentially an upgrade to the company’s existing Mix Radio service. Mix Radio is a free internet radio service which is run by Nokia. The service allows users to listen to Mixes for free, though users can only skip a limited number of songs. If you hear a song you like, you can purchase it within the application. Finally, the service also allows users to download Mixes for offline listening. Mix Radio is currently only available to Nokia Lumia users.

Why would one want to subscribe to Music+, anyway? For one, the service gives users a lot of benefits over the standard Mix Radio service. When you subscribe, you’re instantly given access to unlimited Mix Radio skips as well as higher quality music streams. Nokia is also launching a desktop Music+ app which is only available to subscribers, so you’ll be able to listen to your favorite Mixes when working from your computer. However, the biggest Music+ benefit would have to be the fact that you can download as many Mixes as you’d like for offline listening. Standard Mix Radio accounts are capped at four downloads at a time.

Source: Nokia via The Verge
Image Source: John.Karakatsanis

Nokia 114 Launched In India For Rs.2,549

Last month, Nokia unveiled the entry-level Nokia 114 feature phone. This handset is specially designed for young and hyper-social consumers who wants a fast online experience, without burning a hole in the pocket. Within a month of its global announcement, the dual-SIM Nokia 114 was finally launched in India. This handset comes with the Nokia’s unique Easy Swap technology which allows you to switch SIM cards without turning off the phone.

V. Ramnath, Director of Sales, Nokia India said:
“The new Nokia 114 offers a great, affordable browsing experience for hyper-social consumers who want instant Facebook and Twitter access, as well as to stay connected on-the-go. This unique device supports 24/7 connectivity through faster Internet access with the Nokia Xpress Browser, resulting in a superior Internet experience for these price points”.

Nokia 114 features a 1.8 inch QVGA display, Symbian S40 OS, dual-SIM (GSM + GSM), 0.3 megapixel camera with video recording capabilities, GPRS/EDGE, social networking apps, Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR, 16 MB internal memory, microSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, MicroUSB, dedicated SIM manager and much more.

Other features include a 3.5 mm headset jack, music player, enhanced stereo FM radio, up to 637 hours of stand-by time, up to 10 hours of talk-time, up to 27 hours of music playback and a 1020 mAh battery. This handset measures 110 mm x 46 mm x 14.8 mm and weighs just 80 grams.

The Nokia 114 comes with the innovative, cloud-accelerated Nokia Xpress browser, which allows up to 85% more efficient mobile browsing. This handset is available in 3 colors – Black, Magenta and Cyan. The Nokia 114 comes with a price tag of just Rs.2549 in India.

Is Nokia Hijacking Your Phone’s Browser Traffic?

Two days ago, security professional Gaurang Pandya made an interesting discovery about the browser that comes bundled with the Nokia Asha 302, or pretty much any Nokia feature phone. The browser uses a proxy to route its traffic instead of hitting the requested server directly. This led many people to believe that Nokia is performing a MITM attack on their connection. Now, it would be wrong to refute those claims, because this indeed is a MITM technically. However, it is too early to jump to conclusions here.

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Nokia uses its Nokia/Ovi proxy servers pretty much the same way any other browser manufacturer uses its proxy servers — for transcoding, resulting in data compression and faster browsing. Amazon’s Silk browser does it, Opera Mini does it, but with a slight difference. Others, who do it, are not handset manufacturers. Nokia, on the other hand, is a handset manufacturer and this allows it to proxy HTTPS connections as well. So, how does this work?

Nokia has control of your device (at least during the manufacturing process), and it cunningly includes a fake certification authority (CA) on your device. With this fake certificate issuer on your device, the proxy server can now decode your data because it is signed with a public key for which, the proxy server will have private key [Public Key Cryptography]. The proxy server in turn sends the data to the actual server, only this time, signing it again with a certificate issued by a proper CA. The outcry in this case was that HTTPS connections could also be hijacked by the proxy servers at Nokia, which is not possible with Opera Mini or other browsers that use proxy servers.

So, is there reason to be worried? Of course there is. However, is there reason to blame Nokia? No. There is just reason enough to ask better questions, like how secure are these proxy servers?