Nokia backs Asha to attack Android in budget battle

Nokia reckons its budget Asha phones can defeat the cheap Android phones, committing to Windows Phone over Android.

Asha way to do it. Nokia reckons its budget Asha phones can defeat the wealth of cheap Android phones, and committing to Windows Phone instead of switching to Android.

Discussing Nokia's disappointing performance during the last three months of last year, Nokia boss Stephen Elop revealed how Nokia plans to take on Android in the middle and lower-priced parts of the phone market.

Nokia is "focused on taking [Windows Phone] to lower and lower prices", with cheaper Windows mobiles that will "over time compete with Android".

There's such a vast array of budget Android phones that the operating system dominates the middle of the market, below the more feature-packed and expensive smart phones. Apple has ceded that territory by insisting on keeping the iPhone as a premium, high-end device, which affords Windows Phone --- and, this year, possibly BlackBerry 10 too -- an opportunity to steal this large segment of the market.

Elop has previously confirmed Nokia's commitment to Windows Phone in the short term, but stayed noncommittal about long-term plans , which many saw as an openness towards Android if Windows Phone dies a death.

But Elop now says sticking with Asha will allow Nokia to avoid Android's challenges, like fragmentation across a range of devices and software upgrades. Apps such as Here and Nokia Music will also trickle down to Asha from Windows Phone.

Asha phones are S40-based sort-of-smart phones, with basic apps built into simple affordable handsets like the Nokia Asha 302 .

Can Asha defeat Android? Is this Nokia's year? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.

About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.


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