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By 25 September 2012 | Categories: news

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Nokia has expanded its Asha range of features phones, with the announcement of its new Asha 308 and 309 budget devices. Both of these devices boasts a 3" (240 x 400 pixels; 155 ppi) scratch-resistant, capacitive touchscreen, 2 MP camera, and operate on Nokia’s Asha Touch operating system (OS).

Nokia’s Asha 309 (109.9 x 54 x 13 mm, 102 g) only offers 20 MB worth of internal storage, but this is expandable to up to 32 GB via its microSD cards slot (2 GB card included in retail box). The phone also boasts Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 n (not available on the 308), stereo loudspeaker, a considerably sized (1110 mAh) battery, Stereo FM Radio with the ability to record tracks as these are played on your favourite station and Nokia Maps.

The excellent Nokia Drive navigation software is not included, probably due to the fact that neither of these devices sport GPS (or 3G network support). Another weak point of the 309 is the that its rather ordinary 2 MP snapper only enables users to record low-res (176 x 144 pixels) videos at 15 fps.  

  

Espoo’s Asha 308 (video posted below) is basically the same phone as the 309, except that it is a dual-SIM device, enabling users to swap out SIM cards on the fly without having to turn the phone off first.

Nokia’s new Xpress browser

Both of these new features phones sport Nokia’s new Xpress mobile browser that, like Opera Software’s Opera Mini browser, makes use of cloud compression technology to compress webpages by up to 90%. This not only results in snappier web surfing, but also in costs savings since users will utilise less data whilst browsing the web.

Besides data costs, the new Xpress browser also features support for web apps and games, making it possible to visit YouTube right in the browser and stream YouTube videos via these devices’ video players.

Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp as well as other local social networks the likes of Mxit will come  pre-loaded on these phones. Espoo stated that both models will start shipping during Q4 2012, with these being the company's most affordable capacitive touchscreen devices to date. Nokia estimates the price (Stateside at least) to be around $99 (approximately R813 excl. VAT and subsidies). No local release details are available yet.
 

In related news, Nokia also recently revealed some more info surrounding software updates for its first series of Lumia devices that operates on Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango). The firm stated that its current Lumia range of smartphones will continue to be supported with a new updated user interface (UI, courtesy of Windows Phone 7.8), new features, apps and upgrades being released in the not too distant future.

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