Nokia has given its Series 40-based range of touchscreen Asha smartphones another push to try to keep up with the low end reach of Google’s Android platform today. The mobile maker has announced a new addition to the range — the Asha 501 (pictured left & below) — which also ushers in a new version of the Asha touch UI that’s designed to be quicker and slicker, and has a focus on swiping gestures to make it feel more fluid.
The three-inch capacitive screen Asha 501, which has Wi-Fi but no 3G and costs $ 99 before taxes & subsidies, is expected to start shipping in June, via some 60 carriers in more than 90 countries worldwide. Nokia’s Asha range typically targets emerging markets in Africa, Asia and South America but Asha devices have also been ranged in Europe.
Although Nokia has retired its other in-house platform Symbian, to concentrate its smartphone efforts on Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS, it has continued to expand its portfolio of low end Android alternative S40-based devices — adding in a variety of new hardware and software features to devices in the range, including full Qwerty keyboards; dedicated keys for Facebook/WhatsApp; refreshed industrial design; its Bluetooth sharing technology Slam; its Xpress browser to lighten the data consumption load; preloaded social networking apps; free games downloads; and a focus on long battery life.
But keeping up with low end Androids also means improving Asha’s usability — and that’s what its latest platform refresh is all about. The Asha 501 is in fact the first fruit of Nokia’s 2012 acquisition of Smarterphone, a Norwegian company that made mobile OSes for feature phones designed to give them smartphone looks and capabilities.
Nokia said the new Asha platform is faster and more responsive. It also introduces a touchscreen UI refresh — with a dual homescreen view: the Home screen is a “traditional icon-based view for launching individual apps or accessing a specific feature”, while the new Fastlane view changes based on device usage, showing things like “recently accessed contacts, social networks and apps”.
Fastlane “provides a record of how the phone is used, giving people a glimpse of their past, present and future activity, and helping them multi-task by providing easy access to their favorite features”, according to Nokia’s press release. The feature sounds a lot like certain portions of Motorola’s Android skinning software — such as the widgets deployed on 2012 devices like the Motorola Motosmart.
The overall idea of the design refresh is to make it easier for Asha users to get to the apps and features they’re after, according to Nokia – with the two main screens accessible by a “simple swipe”. ”Fastlane is integral to the whole Nokia Asha 501 experience, but so is the ‘swipe’ motion,” a spokeswoman told TechCrunch. “With swipe as you experience it on the device, we were able to make optimal use of screen space, so you see just what you need. You swipe to everything else, including pull-down menus and of course, Fastlane. The whole user experience is faster and more responsive.”New Asha, New Apps
So what about apps? The new Asha platform does require developers to rework apps for it — either by writing them afresh or porting them over. Which does mean Nokia is pushing the reset button yet again, but the company would probably argue that at this price point with these price-conscious consumers, users aren’t expecting hoards of apps — just select key apps. It’s also added in-app purchases to the new Asha platform, offering developers a new way to monetise Asha apps, along with its Nokia Advertising Exchange and carrier billing network.
“A good percentage of existing apps can be ported to the new platform,” said Nokia’s spokeswoman. “We already have many developers working on this. Going forward and with the new Nokia Asha Software Development Kit, developers can write an app once, and it will be compatible with future devices also built on the new Asha platform, with no need to re-write code.”
Apps that are already available for the new Nokia Asha platform include CNN, eBuddy, ESPN, Facebook, Foursquare, Line, LinkedIn, Nimbuzz, Pictelligent, The Weather Channel, Twitter, WeChat, World of Red Bull and games from Electronic Arts, Gameloft, Indiagames, Namco Bandai and Reliance Games. Nokia said its HERE location software will also be available as a download, starting in Q3 this year — and will “initially include basic mapping services”.
Messaging giant WhatsApp is noticeably absent from the list but Nokia’s spokeswoman suggested that may change in future, noting: “WhatsApp and other key partners continue to explore new Asha.”
In select markets, certain carriers are also offering data-free access to apps including the Facebook app and mobile website on the 501 for a limited time, offering another hook for the target cost-conscious consumers.
The 501 comes preloaded with Nokia’s cloud-based data compressing Xpress browser. Nokia has also created a new web app, called Nokia Xpress Now, which ”recommends content based on location, preferences and trending topics”. It said this will be available via the Browser homepage or as a download from the Nokia Store.
“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,” said Neil Mawston, executive director, Global Wireless Practice, Strategy Analytics, in a supporting statement.
Commenting on the launch via Twitter, Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi added: “Asha 501 shows what you can achieve when you design bottom up rather than strip down features to hit the right price point.
“Asha 501 Dual SIM with hot swap very important to users but what is most striking on this device is the user interface.”
The full device specifications for the Asha 501 are as follows:
Dimensions: 99.2 x 58 x 12.1 mm; 98 grams
Camera: 3.2 MP
Single SIM standby time: up to 48 days
Dual SIM standby time: up to 26 days
Talk time: up to 17 hours
Additional memory of 4GB (card included in box), expandable up to 32GB
Forty free EA Games worth €75 downloadable from Nokia Store
Available colours: Bright Red, Bright Green, Cyan, Yellow, White and Black
Suggested pricing is 99 USD before taxes and subsidies.
Jonathan Ive Is Making Big Changes To The iPhone's Look And Feel If you've been following any coverage of the new iPhone, you've heard that iPhone 5 users (or any iDevice users who have updated their gadgets to iOS 6) are complaining rather loudly about how terrible the Apple Maps app is. The new navigation app, … Read more on Huffington Post
iOS 6.1.4 Update For iPhone 5 Released I recommend downloading this update from the iPhone itself – Settings > General > Software Update – as this way the entire package is only 11.5MB as opposed to being hundreds of megabytes if downloaded via iTunes. Apple is also currently working on … Read more on Forbes
Maybe the Low-End iPhone Is Really a Mid-End iPhone What if Apple's long-rumored low-end iPhone isn't targeted at the smartphone market's lower reaches? What if it's targeted at the middle? What if it isn't low-end at all, but simply mainstream? Not a $ 150 phone or even a $ 200 one, but a $ 350 one? Read more on All Things DigitalRelated Posts:
Chef Sleeve has been selling its iPad-protecting plastic sleeves since 2011 to keep kitchen gunk off the iPad you’re using while you cook. They also make a dishwasher-safe, non-porous chopping board with a built in iPad stand (below right), and a smaller stand in the same recycled paper composite finish. But Chef Sleeve’s grand plan is to create a range of connected devices for the kitchen that link up with an iPad app to let people track their nutrition in a highly granular, yet low hassle, way.
To that end it’s just kicked off a Kickstarter campaign for its next product: a smart Bluetooth scale, which it’s calling Smart Food Scales, that will enable people to weigh ingredients and snacks and then determine the exact amount of fat, salt, sugar, vitamins and so on in the ingredients they’re using in recipes or the snacks they’re eating at home.
“This is our first smart product. We now want to activate these pieces of hardware and take the iPad even further and enhance the experience in the kitchen,” says Chef Sleeve’s Michael Tankenoff. “The Bluetooth scale will sync up with our iOS app on iPad or iPhone. Say you’re weighing strawberries. We house the USDA database of food information, so you select strawberries. Not only will it tell you the weight, but it tells you all the nutritional information.
“For example, you’re preparing a salad — you put your bowl on the scale, add your lettuce, select lettuce, reset to zero, add your tomatoes, select tomatoes, reset to zero, keep going, build this recipe and when you’re done, now you know exactly the nutritional value of that salad that you have every day.”
As well as the health conscious and people watching their weight, Chef Sleeve envisages the scales being useful for individuals with conditions such as diabetes to help them track their sugar intake, or people with specific nutritional deficiencies who need to make sure they’re getting enough of certain vitamins in their diet.
The company is looking to raise $ 30,000 via its Kickstarter campaign, which runs until the end of the month. It’s showing the following prototype screenshots (below) of the planned iPad software. It also intends to open up its API at some point in the future, so that third-party developers can build apps for the smart scales — although it’s going to be careful about how it does this, as it wants to keep any other apps wholesome (scales can, after all, be used to weigh non-foodstuffs too).
After the scales, Chef Sleeve says it will look to launch other connected devices that tie back in to its iOS app to keep adding to a range of smart kitchen devices. A thermometer could be next, says CEO Santiago Merea. A chopping board with an integrated scale could also be on the cards “at some point” — but he says the company is being mindful about its mainstream consumer buyer. “We need to be careful about our demographic. We’re not going to throw rockets at them,” he told TechCrunch. “We want the design to be very homey, very crafty.”
If the uptake of the scales is strong, it could end up generating some fascinating data for Chef Sleeve — such as what, when and how people eat — which it said it will look to feed back into its product development.
“Our pledge is going to be to not store any personal information at all — because we don’t need to but we also don’t want the risk of being hacked,” said Merea. ”Food is personal… So we’re not storing any personal information but we don’t need to. With that data we can also even help our customers. It’s going to be really cool what we can do with this.”
Chef Sleeve already has stores interested in carrying the smart scales, according to Merea. It’s hoping to get into speciality kitchenware stores with the smart scales, a shift of its retail strategy which, to date, has been mostly focused on selling via Amazon (and its own website).
Samsung Galaxy Note II SCH-I605 - 16GB - Titanium gray (Verizon) Smartphone $471.00 (16 Bids)End Date: Sunday May-19-2013 1:18:57 PDTBid now | Add to watch list NEW Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket SGH-I727 - 16GB - White (Unlocked) Smartphone $279.97End Date: Wednesday May-22-2013 19:06:48 PDTBuy It Now for only: $279.97Buy It Now | Add to watch list Samsung Galaxy S 4G SGH-T959V - Charcoal gray (Unlocked) Smartphone $540.00 (54 Bids)End Date: Sunday May-19-2013 1:19:32 PDTBid now | Add to watch listRelated Posts:
Question by Johnnyboy: How to start an engineering club at my high school? next year im going to a catholic school and want to start an engineering club. I want to become a mechanical engineer, but any similar engineering is fine for this club. So how could i start this engineering/robotics club? Thank you!
Answer by ChrisI think you should start a FIRST robotics team.
My high school and a huge number of others around the country are involved in the program. Contact me if you have any questions about it.
Give your answer to this question below!Related Posts:
If you’re into 3D printable stuff, or into remote-control cars, then the OpenRC Project is for you. A gentleman in Sweden named Daniel Norée is sharing his progress on a 3D-printed Truggy, as well as sharing the recipe with the OpenRC Project group that he created. A truggy is an off-road vehicle, in case you weren’t sure.
The cost of 3D printers is dropping both for at-home use and enterprise, so it’s a very real possibility that consumers all over the world could soon have these devices in their living rooms. Crazier things have happened. We’ve seen 3D-printed iPhone docks, violins, pottery and even a robotic hand for a child.
If you can print out your very own customized remote-control car with one, count me in. While not all of the parts are printable, such as the wheels, for really die-hard remote control car fans, those are parts that they probably have sitting around in the garage already.
Here’s a video that Norée uploaded today that shows some of the schematics behind the parts, and the actual 3D-printing process using one of those fancy MakerBot Replicators:
The project has come a long way in the past few months; here’s a video of an earlier model breaking down:
I want one.
While this isn’t the only 3D-printed remote-control car out there, the advantage here is that you can follow the progress of the project on Google+ and join the discussion. If you’re ready to print one out, go here.
Microsoft is preparing to name its “Windows Blue” upgrade as Windows 8.1. ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley first unveiled the name, but The Verge has confirmed with its own sources that Microsoft will name Windows 8.1 as the upgrade to Windows 8. The upgrade will include a number of improvements to the operating system that are not usually distributed in Service Packs. Windows 8.1 will mark a new approach to Windows upgrades and updates, bringing future version changes on a yearly basis.
Microsoft will release its first Windows 8.1 public preview at its Build developer conference in late June. The software maker opened up registration for the conference today, and tickets are expected to sell out fast. Windows 8.1 will be part of the agenda, but…
NEW1.6GHz bluetooth Android 4.2 MK808B TV BOX Mini PC stick Thumb RK3066 1080HD $31.01 (25 Bids)End Date: Sunday May-19-2013 2:00:42 PDTBid now | Add to watch list New 4.0" Multi-touch Android 4.0 Dual Sim WIFI Smartphone AT&T T-Mobile Unlocked $63.95End Date: Monday May-27-2013 19:22:44 PDTBuy It Now for only: $63.95Buy It Now | Add to watch list HTC Droid Incredible Verizon Wireless Wifi 8.0 MP Camera 8GB Android Cell Phone $64.95End Date: Monday May-20-2013 10:07:32 PDTBuy It Now for only: $64.95Buy It Now | Add to watch listRelated Posts:
Note: The entire graphic is super long (but nowhere near as long as you, stud), so I posted it after the jump to not make the homepage a mile long.
This is an infographic/timeline of famed thinker Stephen Hawking’s life. Fun fact: he was regarded as a good student — but not great. Bonus fact: he was diagnosed with his disease in 1962 and only given two or three years to live. That was 51 years ago. I vote they fire those doctors if they’re still practicing. Also, Stephen has three children and can get women pregnant WITH HIS MIND ALONE. Wear those tin-foil hats, ladies.
Hit the jump for the whole thing and pray it’s inspirational enough for you to get out there and do something with your life. Didn’t work for me thoughRelated Posts:
Question by RJ: How do you make games for Android FREE? I am trying to figure out how to make games for free for Android. I have found ways to make them but it costs a bit. I don’t want to make just plain old apps, I want to do games. Are there any builders or websites that can do this?
Answer by BryanA app called black market .
Add your own answer in the comments!Related Posts: