Nokia has announced three new phones today, all of them running their proprietary Series 40 featurephone operating system. Starting with the Asha 305 and 306, they’re both the same device, except that the latter has only one SIM card slot while the former has two. And as for the Asha 311 (pictured above), it’s the Asha 305/306, but with 3G connectivity and a better camera (3.2 megapixels versus 2.0 megapixels). What makes these phones exciting is that they’re Nokia’s first full touch screen featurephones. We saw them leaked two months ago, so we knew they were coming, but now we have some concrete information regarding pricing and availability. The 311 will run you 92 EUR and ship in Q3 2012. The 306 ships during the same quarter, but at a much lower price point of 68 EUR. And finally the 305, that should ship by the end of Q2 2012, which means by the end of this month, for just 63 EUR.
We severely doubt that you guys are interested in a 3 inch 400 x 240 resistive touch screen dumbphone, but that’s OK since you’re not the intended audience. The people who will buy these new Asha devices live in emerging economies where phones that cost more than 100 EUR are considered luxury items. The problem with those markets is that they’re currently being flooded by cheap Android smartphones from Huawei, ZTE, and multiple of no-name Chinese brands. Which sort of device do you think someone living in a small city in Thailand would choose? Something that runs a smartphone operating system or something that’s just a glorified featurephone?
The Nokia brand only goes so far, at some point it makes sense to go with another vendor if they offer a superior device. What we want to know is when will Nokia ditch Series 40 and start making phones that run “Smarter Phone”, the Norwegian made operating system that they purchased back in January?