Meet The $99 Nokia That Doesn’t Run Windows Phone 8

It’s crazy to think in our Lumia-saturated world that Nokia would make a phone that doesn’t run Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 platform, but to hedge bets and keep shareholders happy, the limping Finnish smartphone manufacturer has introduced us to the Asha 501: a $99 smartphone that it hopes will be a decent, low-cost alternative.

The Asha 501 isn’t about to eclipse the Lumia range, but Nokia wants people to have a cheaper alternative to its range of Lumia phones. Right now there are five Lumia models on the market in Australia alone, with another on the way in the form of the Lumia 928.

To say the Asha 501 is spartan in its features is an overstatement. It packs a 3-inch QVGA (320×240) screen with 133 pixels per inch, it has a 3.2-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, Bluetooth 3.0, a 1200mAh battery. That’s. About. It.

Despite the relatively poor specs on the Asha 501, Nokia is still promising big things. It runs apps from Facebook, Twitter and FourSquare, and even supports games like Plants vs Zombies, and it also has its own HTML compression service in the Nokia Xpress Browser that promises to let you get “more out of your data plan”.

Nokia has also managed to make the Asha 501 really attractive, too, with six great-looking colours.

The Asha 501 has been given a $US99 price tag, but there’s no word on what Aussies will pay just yet, or if we’ll get it at all. Don’t hold your breath, though: the Asha 501 is priced and built to accommodate the needs of the emerging market, and with cheaper devices from Intel and those running the Firefox OS well on their way, this is Nokia’s chance to get back into the game. Nokia already has a steady footing in developing markets, too.

Either way, we’ll update you if we hear more.