Nokia adds Whatsapp button for $72 Asha mobile

25/04/2013

Nokia has launched a feature phone with a dedicated WhatsApp physical button, offering users a cross platform messaging tool as a free wi-fi-based alternative to texts.

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The move marks Nokia’s latest attempt to boost its share in emerging markets, where consumers are looking for cheaper alternatives to high end smartphones, such as iPhones Samsung Galaxies and Nokia’s own Windows 8-based Lumia range.

HTC and Nokia have previously released handsets with Facebook-devoted buttons, but this marks a first for WhatsApp.

Nokia's Asha 210 runs on the firm's proprietary Series 40 operating system. The OS supports third-party web apps and software written in the Java programming language.

To achieve a targeted retail price of £47 ($72) Nokia decided that the device's 2.4in (6.1cm) screen would not be touch-enabled.

Users have to use its built-in Qwerty keyboard and navigation button to launch and operate apps, so having a dedicated key gives WhatsApp an edge over alternatives on the handset.

In addition owners of the phone are offered a subscription to the app for the device's lifespan rather than having to pay the normal annual fee.

According to a study published by tech consultancy Ovum, WhatsApp is the world's third most popular social messaging service after Facebook Chat and Google Chat.

Reports earlier this month suggested the firm was in talks to be taken over by Google in a $1bn deal - however, they were later denied.

A survey by Ovum suggested that 51% of WhatsApp users reduced the amount of SMS messages sent after downloading the app.

Watch this video from Nokia explaining how the service works below;


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