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Nokia shows off US$99 Asha smartphone

The Nokia Asha 501 will go head to head with low-cost Android phones around the world.

The Nokia Asha 501 will go head to head with low-cost Android phones around the world.

(Credit: Nokia)

While Nokia's Lumia range gets all the news, its run of Asha phones is actually out selling the Lumia nearly double.

The low-end touch phones, which run a variation of the Symbian OS, hit 9.3 million total sales in Q4 last year, mostly in regions such as India, Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America.

However, the rise of lower cost Android phones has threatened the Asha, so Nokia has responded with the Asha 501.

Although it's the most powerful Asha yet, the 501 still costs US$99. Its new "Fastlane" interface works by keeping your most or recently used apps and features just one swipe away.

However, it's the battery life that impresses most: 17 hours of talk time or 48 days in standby. Yes, days.

It's been launched in India — one of the key markets for Nokia in terms of the Asha — but will actually be in 90 different countries by Q2 2013.