New budget Nokia Asha 210 features dedicated WhatsApp button

The popularity of WhatsApp looks to soar even higher as Nokia prepares to launch a $72 smartphone for Asia and Africa that features a dedicated WhatsApp button; the Nokia Asha 210.

Priced cheaply, coloured brightly and aimed at emerging markets, the new Asha 210 features a QWERTY keyboard for bashing out WhatsApp messages, texts, emails and more. As with Nokia’s other recent Asha models, it takes design cues from the Lumia range of Windows Phones.

Styled much like a BlackBerry with a QWERTY keyboard, a small non-touch screen and a trackpad for navigation directly below the display, the Asha 210 is a super cheap phone for those who love to keep in touch via text-based methods. Two different versions of the phone are being made for different markets – one with a WhatsApp button and the other with a Facebook button, much like the HTC ChaCha has.

A long press of either button will automatically load the relevant app, with WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook all coming pre-loaded on the phone. Buyers will also get 15 free games and apps to download from the Nokia Store.

You get 2G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and a 2 megapixel rear camera for snaps, although we can imagine they’re not going to be blowing anybody away with quality.

Nokia’s Asha range of phones has become incredibly popular in emerging markets in recent years, offering a smartphone-like experience for little money. The price of the Asha 210 will see it sit just below the cheapest Android handsets in most markets, and although Nokia’s S40 software offers less functionality and fewer apps than Google’s platform, it does offer all the basic attractions of a smartphone in a cheap, neat and colourful little package.