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Nokia goes after emerging markets with $99 Asha handsets

The company unveils the Nokia Asha 308 and the Asha 309, which will both retail for approximately $99 when they launch in the fourth quarter.

Nokia's Asha 308.
Nokia's Asha 308.

Nokia today unveiled two new Asha handsets in a concerted effort to appeal to customers in emerging markets.

Dubbed the Asha 308 and the Asha 309, the devices come with 3-inch touchscreens and 2-megapixel rear cameras. Unlike the company's Lumia line, the handsets aren't running Windows Phone. Instead, they run Nokia's Series 40 operating system, which it offers to consumers in emerging markets that are looking to invest more heavily in mobile products.

The Asha 308 and Asha 309 are nearly identical. However, the Asha 308 comes with built-in dual SIM, allowing owners to switch between up to five cards. The Asha 309 comes with a single SIM.

Nokia's Asha line has helped the company attract a loyal following in emerging markets all over the world. Earlier this year, Nokia announced that it had sold its 1.5 billionth Series 40 phone. The device, an Asha 303, was purchased in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Although they don't get much attention, the mobile phones Nokia sells around the world are a driving force in its ability, so far, to stay afloat. The company's Lumia line, on the other hand, has faced trouble competing with the likes of Apple's iPhone, causing the company real trouble.

Given Asha's importance, Nokia hasn't been shy about launching those handsets. Back in June, Nokia released a trio of Asha devices, ranging in price from $81 to $115.

Nokia's Asha 308 and 309 are similarly cheap, launching in the fourth quarter for "about $99." And although the devices are technologically unimpressive compared to the latest and greatest smartphones, Nokia is trying to woo some buyers by offering a free gift of 40 EA games with the purchase. According to Nokia, those titles are valued at 75 euros ($97).