New Nokia Asha phones abandon keypads for full touchscreens, but retain bargain prices

Nokia Asha 311Nokia’s Asha series of feature phones have always come equipped with a keyboard, and so far the only break in this established pattern has been partial touch devices such as the Asha 303.

Despite Asha phones being attractively designed, keyboards just aren’t cool, and given that Nokia promotes the series to young, social people around the world — it needed to offer full touchscreen Asha phones, or risk losing out to manufacturers of cheap Android devices.

Today, Nokia has done just that, with the launch of three new touchscreen phones: The Asha 311, Asha 306 and the Asha 305, all of which use the Series 40 operating system.

The Nokia Asha 311 (pictured above) is the most feature-rich of the three. It has a 1Ghz processor, a 3-inch capacitive touchscreen with a 320 x 240 pixel resolution, a 3.2-megapixel camera and GPS; plus it offers both 3G HSDPA and Wi-Fi connectivity. Other features include a 3.5mm headphone socket and a microSD card slot.

Nokia Asha 306While that spec may not impress iPhone or Galaxy owners, the price reflects the gulf between them, as the 311 will cost a very reasonable 92 euros, or $114.

The Asha 306 is even cheaper, at 68 euros or $85, but the spec does take a tumble. For a start, it has a resistive touchscreen, measuring 3-inches with a 400 x 240 pixel resolution.

The camera has 2-megapixels and there’s only 2G connectivity, but Nokia has still managed to squeeze in GPS and Wi-Fi. The Nokia Asha 305 is the same as the 306, except it loses Wi-Fi and gains a dual-SIM slot.

All three come with Nokia Maps, the data-sipping Nokia Browser 2.0, access to the Nokia Store plus a selection of free Electronic Arts games to download.

In the case of the Asha 311, it also comes with 15 levels of Angry Birds pre-installed, a selection of social networking apps and the WhatsApp cross-platform messenger.

Announced for parts of Europe, Asia and South America, the Asha 305 and 306 should be available very soon, while the Asha 311 will go on sale between July and September this year.