Nokia unveils trio of cheap touch-screen phones

Three new Web-centric feature phones will join Nokia's Asha line.

Brian Bennett Former Senior writer
Brian Bennett is a former senior writer for the home and outdoor section at CNET.
Brian Bennett

In the U.S., Nokia recently made a splash with its premium Windows Phone, the Lumia 900. With the unveiling of three new low-price Asha handsets, however, the company demonstrates it's still committed to the low-end global market.

The trio of GSM phones, the Nokia Asha 311, Nokia Asha 305, and Nokia Asha 306, will all run Nokia's proprietary S40 Asha operating system. Sorry folks, no Android or even Windows Phone software here. They also sport small 3-inch low-resolution WQVGA (400 x 240 pixels) LCD screens.

Even worse, the Asha 305 and Asha 306 sadly use resistive technology instead of the more responsive capacitive displays found in modern smartphones. Thankfully, the Asha 311 is equipped with an industry standard capacitive screen.

Nokia does plan to make these technologically unimpressive handsets more appealing by including a host of useful software. All three phones will feature Twitter and Facebook apps, and Nokia Maps plus a list of 40 full games from EA games pre-installed. The Asha 311 will also have Angry Birds on board to highlight its capacitive screen.

These devices are squarely aimed at prepaid and emerging markets and have rock-bottom prices, which don't include carrier subsidies, to match. Nokia expects the Asha 311 to retail for 92 euros ($115) while the Asha 306 will run for 68 ($85) euros. Both handsets are scheduled to hit the market by third quarter 2012. The lower-price Asha 305 (63 EUR) will arrive on store shelves a little earlier, sometime in second quarter 2012.