I think most of us would agree the new Asha phones look pretty tasty, and runs an OS with a rather complex and attractive user interface on very cheap hardware.
Stephen Elop was asked why the phones do not run Windows Phone, and also why the substitute OS seems to be modelled more on Meego than Nokia’s current OS, which may cause issues for those upgrading from one to the other.
Q (Mine): If the Nokia Asha 501 is said to ease the transition, or blur the line, from feature phones, to smart phones, won’t the users who have an Asha 501 who then upgrade to a Nokia Lumia find the experience entirely different? For this sort of an approach, wouldn’t it have made sense to keep the N9, to allow that transition to be more effective.
A: Nokia’s aim in bringing the Asha 501 to market was a consistent services experience across all the devices, as well as bring some of the “Nokia” qualities to the lower price point. For example, the design language, in terms of software coming from the N9, and the physical design inspired by the evolution later seen in the Lumia range.
The Asha 501 is clearly designed for a different market to the Lumia devices, and as such, the elements that are included in the device reflect the needs of the target audience. Durability, something that pretty much every Nokia device is known for, is also a major factor. Finally, imaging. Nokia has been working hard on imaging, and they believe at it’s price point, the Asha 501 has a 3.2mp great camera.
We also get the question, “why not just make Lumia devices cheaper?”, the answer is simple. We designed the Nokia Asha 501 to provide a great experience on low hardware at an incredibly low price. Lumia is Nokia’s future. If it were to bring that experience to low-end devices, like you see on low-end Android, the experience is terrible, and it ruins the integrity of a brand – which is the last thing Nokia want.
The essence is that Windows Phone would just not provide the same user experience on the low-end hardware used. I time one assumes the rising tide will make cheap hardware ever more powerful, but until 100% if the world use smartphones there will still be a need for a feature phone OS which can run on very cheap hardware, and Nokia might as well have the best.