Nokia unwraps $62 Asha cell phones -- but not in the U.S.

The Asha 205 and 206 -- designed to appeal to the budget-conscious -- include a dedicated Facebook button and a feature called Slam that lets you share photos and files with other mobile phone owners.

Nokia's new Asha 205 and 206 phones.
Nokia's new Asha 205 and 206 phones. Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Nokia has announced two new phones designed for budget-conscious and socially-networked users, although they won't be available in the United States.

Unveiled today, the Asha 205 and 206 feature phones each sell for $62. They also offer quick access to Facebook and the ability to share photos and files with users of any other mobile phone.

Both phones are slated to reach consumers by year's end. But they'll only be up for grabs in certain markets, and users in the U.S. are out of luck. Asha phones are not compatible with Microsoft's Windows Phone OS, according to Nokia. So their availability is typically limited to markets where Nokia doesn't offer its Windows Phone Lumia devices.

As described in a Nokia blog, the Asha 205 comes with a dedicated Facebook button to access the social network with one tap. Twitter and chat app eBuddy are both pre-installed.

The phones come with an Electronic Arts gift pack of 40 free games. And in certain markets, the Nokia Life or Nokia Life+ educational services are part of the package as well.

Nokia is aiming to ease the ability to share.

Both the 205 and 206 come with a technology dubbed Slam. This feature lets you share a photo, file, or other item with the closest Bluetooth-enabled device. But, according to Nokia, the sharing happens instantly without the need to pair the two devices. Owners of the new phones can share items with other mobile devices, not just Slam-enabled Nokia phones.

The Asha 205 and 206 are also designed to help data-hungry users. The phones are outfitted with the latest version of Nokia's Xpress Browser, which uses cloud-based servers to reduce the amount of Internet data consumed.

Both phones lack GPS. But they can can use cell towers to pinpoint their location, displaying a local map and finding nearby stores and other spots. The Nokia Nearby Web app is also included to dig up information on points of interest.

The phones come unlocked so they won't be tied to a specific carrier. So-dubbed Easy Swap technology lets you change SIM cards without having to turn off the phone, so you can easily switch between carriers. And finally, Nokia boasts a hefty battery life for both phones, touting a "standby time measured in weeks" rather than hours.

And though some of the specs are similar to what you might find on a smartphone, the Asha devices are defined as feature phones.

Updated 8:30 a.m. PT with information from Nokia.

 

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