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Nokia Asha 501 launched: A colourful smartphone on a budget

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It might not be May 14th yet, but Nokia has launched a new smartphone ahead of the expected Lumia launch next week. The Nokia Asha 501 is the second new Asha model in recent weeks, and is another colourful and affordable smartphone from the Finnish company.

Priced at around $100, or likely £80/90 in the UK, the Asha 501 definitely falls into the affordable category when it comes to smartphones. Like the company’s Lumia range of Windows Phones, the 501 is compact and available in a range of bright colours, including yellow, red, green and cyan blue.

With curved edges and corners and a diminutive size – 99.2 x 58 x 12.1 mm – the Asha 501 is far from the gargantuan sizes of most high-end smartphones being launched at the moment. It features a 3-inch QVGA touchscreen display with a single button below, volume and power buttons on the right edge and headphone and micro USB sockets.

Inside the phone there’s 4GB of internal memory and a micro SD card slot to allow this to be expanded by up to 32GB, so there’s plenty of storage for tunes, apps and such. The 501 is also the first Asha phone to utilise a micro SIM, which shows that Nokia is further merging the idea of the smartphone and the feature phone. On the back there’s a 3.2 megapixel camera, with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity inside.

The phone uses Nokia’s newest Asha software, which is based on the Symbian S40 OS and combines Nokia’s recently acquired Smarterphone software. There’s a brand new speedy Xpress web browser, access to popular apps and games, and a featue called Fastlane which gives you easy access to your 50 most recent actions and interactions.

Out of the box Nokia is giving Asha 501 buyers Facebook, Twitter, Weather Channel and a bunch of other apps including premium games from Gameloft to get you started.

The Nokia Asha 501 will come to more than 90 countries between before the end of June.