Nokia has launched the next iteration of its Nokia Life service, called Nokia Life+ which aims to provide information on various topics like education, health and infotainment.

Transition from SMS to Internet: Its interesting to note that Nokia Life+ is a free web app (with requisite data charges) while Nokia Life was primarily an SMS-based subscription service. Nokia stated that the service is compatible with a wide range of Nokia smartphones, including the newly launched Nokia Asha 308 and Nokia Asha 309 smartphones, although it noted in a separate press release, that the service will be compatible with all Asha Touch smartphones.

Services: Nokia Life+ will initially offer two different services called ‘Life Skills’ and ‘Live Healthy’. While Life Skills will provide consumers information on various communication skills like developing interpersonal skills, building self-confidence and improving financial literacy among others, Live Healthy will provide consumers health related information related to nutrition, hygiene, fitness and prevention of common illnesses. The company plans to add more services over the forthcoming months.

Partners: Nokia has tied up with several local partners like the mobile learning VAS company EnableM, and global partners like Reader’s Digest, Foundation for Social Change, FKUGM, Detik.com, Cita Cinta, GADIS, Gamatechno, Sygma, Ayahbunda, Madison Research, Sina and iMedia for this initiative. Its worth noting that Nokia had previously tied up with EnableM to power Nokia Life’s (previously Nokia Life Tools) education service.

Availability: Nokia stated that the English version of Nokia Life+ is currently available as free download on the Nokia Store, or accessible through the new Nokia Xpress Browser in 18 countries including Nigeria, Pakistan, Egypt, Kenya, Malaysia, Singapore, Bangladesh, Vietnam, United States and United Kingdom among others. The company plans to roll out local versions of Nokia Life+ to India, China and Indonesia by the fourth quarter of this year.

Userbase: The company claims that more than 76 million people had used the original Nokia Life service as of September 2012, up from 50 million in February 2012.

Previous developments: Nokia Life started off as pilot project in Maharashtra in 2009, followed by a commercial deployment as Nokia Life Tools in June 2009. Nokia had also inked deals with various telcos in India including Vodafone, Tata Docomo, and Reliance Communications to offer a SMS based subscription service package to their subscribers.

As of July 2011, Nokia Life Tools agricultural service was available across 18 states, in 11 regional languages including Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi, Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati, Oriya and English, on over 20 devices. In February this year, Nokia renamed the service as Nokia Life and launched an updated version of the service.

Nokia Asha 308 and Asha 309 Launch: Along with Nokia Life+ announcement, Nokia expanded its Nokia Asha range of smartphones by unveiling two new smartphones – Nokia Asha 308 and Nokia Asha 309. Both smartphones feature similar specifications like 3.0” WQVGA capacitive display, S40 operating system, multiple home screen support, stereo radio, loud speakers and support for 32GB microSD card.

The only difference being that Nokia Asha 309 is a single SIM smartphone with support for WiFi while Nokia Asha 308 is a dual SIM smartphone with Nokia’s Easy Swap technology, which enables people to switch SIM cards without turning off the phone.

Besides this, Both Nokia Asha 308 and Nokia Asha 309 also feature Nokia Messaging service, Facebook and Twitter apps, video streaming through browsers on sites like YouTube and 40 free premium EA games, although there is no word if the games are available for a limited period. Nokia had previously offered 40 free EA games including titles like Tetris, Need for Speed, The Run and Bejeweled, at the launch of Nokia Asha 202, although the games were available under a 60-day promotion offer at Nokia Store.

Both the devices are expected to be available in the fourth quarter of 2012 for an estimated price of $99, although there is currently no specific information on the pricing or availability of these smartphones in India.

Nokia Nearby & Nokia Xpress Web App Builder: Nokia also introduced a new Nokia Nearby web app as an extension of its Xpress Browser, which allows users to search for nearby places and view them on a map. It also launched Nokia Xpress Web App Builder which is essentially a web-based tool which allows publishers to build web apps for Asha touch devices.