Stephe Elop answers one of the most intriguing questions surrounding Nokia's low end Asha line-up, "Why doesn't Nokia Asha runs on Windows Phone?"
Ever wondered why Nokia hasn't introduced a cheap Windows Phone (except the Lumia 510 and 520 from 2012 and 2013 respectively; we mean cheaper) instead of promoting their Asha platform? Stephen Elop answers, elaborating why the Asha line up doesn't run on Windows Phone. According to Elop, Windows Phone will simply not provide the minimum required quality (that Microsoft has set for its platform) at such a low price. We believe Elop is hinting at the low end Android powered smartphones that lag considerably and provide a not-so-great smartphone experience in general (Galaxy Y anyone?).
If Nokia were to introduce Lumia smartphones at the price of the Asha range, the integrity of Lumia and Windows Phone brands would be compromised. Elop further added that the Asha OS has been designed to work on low end feature phones with weak hardware, and that the OS in general has been designed keeping the developing countries in mind. The last thing Nokia (and Microsoft) want is a laggy Windows Phone with a horrible user experience (Lumia 510 does come close though).
Nokia's new Asha platform isn't that bad to start with. Packing some new exclusivity such as Fastlane (direct access to your past, present and future), which is a really cool feature of the phone, the Asha 501 does stand out. Coupled with a N9-inspired swipe-based UI, you will begin to realize that a lot of work went into the redesigned Asha and the 501. We're really hoping for scaled up versions with better specifications than a QVGA display and 4 GB storage (or the 3.2 MP fixed focus camera while we are at it).
Neowin reports that the price difference between the recently introduced Lumia 520 and Asha 501 isn't that big, with the 520 selling for as low as $130 (and $99 being the Asha 501 launch price). That being said, that $30 essentially makes or breaks the Windows Phone 8 user experience, as the Lumia 520 is just meeting the bare minimum requirements. Also, in developing markets $30 can be a pretty big sum, making the Asha 501 a more suitable candidate (for commercial success and popularity).