Nokia has launched Nokia Asha 210, a single and dual-SIM handset with QWERTY keypad and a dedicated WhatsApp button.
Free WhatsApp Subscription For Life
Nokia has also partnered with WhatsApp to offer the service free for life on all Nokia Asha 210 devices. WhatsApp typically charges a $1.99 yearly fee to use the service after an initial one-year free subscription. (However, we haven’t been charged yet although we keep getting alerts that the service will be going paid soon).
We believe this partnership is quite an interesting and a significant one, considering that the service is quite popular in the country. I personally have seen people upgrading from feature phones to smartphones in the past year to use the service with their friends. So Nokia is probably hoping to tap into this market with Nokia Asha 210, while WhatsApp will hoping for an increased user base and a better market penetration in the country, where there is a plethora of data messaging products like Bharti Softbank’s Hike, Imsy and Tencent’s WeChat among others.
Functionality-wise, this partnership is nothing new and there have been similar partnerships in the past: In 2011, Vodafone had launched Vodafone Blue with a Facebook quick access button. In 2010, Tata Docomo had launched the OneTouch Net Phone from Alcatel, its first co-branded handset, with a suite of Yahoo‘s services pre-loaded, along with buttons to launch Yahoo services and Tata Docomo’s Dive In portal.
Another way to look at it: Whatsapp has been trying to partner with various companies to enjoy better market penetration. Earlier, it had signed a telco partnership deal with Reliance Communications to offer free access (along with free Facebook access, SMS at Rs 0.05 each, group SMS at Rs 3 each) for Rs 16/month.
Nokia Asha 210 Features
Feature-wise, Nokia Asha 210 sports a 2.4-inch QVGA screen and runs on S40 operating system. It also has a flash memory of up to 64MB with support for 32GB microSD card. Other features include a 2 megapixel camera with 4x digital zoom and connectivity features like WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1, EDGE, microUSB slot, and 3.5mm connector slot.
The Asha 210 will feature a 2100mAh battery which the company claims to give a talk time up to 12 hours and a standby time up to 24 days. The device will be available in five colors – Yellow, Black, White, Cyan, and Magenta depending on the market.
Besides Whatsapp, the device also comes preloaded with a YouTube launcher for direct video streaming and social phonebook integration with the ability to launch WhatsApp directly from contact cards in the phonebook. The device is expected to be available in the market by Q2 2013 for $72 (Approx Rs 4000), although there is currently no specific information on India availability yet.
As part of the partnership, Getit’s premium listings from businesses will appear as paid content on top of Nokia Nearby search results and the company said that these results will be organized by proximity to the user. The deal period or the financial details of the partnership were not disclosed.
Nokia Nearby is a location-based web app available through Nokia Xpress Browser that allows consumers to discover, search, explore and share places of interest near them. Nokia claims that Nokia Nearby has clocked 500,000 downloads on the Nokia store in the previous month alone and the service is currently available on Nokia Asha devices like the Nokia Asha 200, Nokia Asha 202, Nokia Asha 305, Nokia Asha 308, and Nokia Asha 311.
Updates: Error in headline corrected.