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Nokia's Asha phone to hit India this month

Unveiled with much fanfare at its global even in London in October, Nokia's Asha phones were announced in India. The phones,Asha 300 and Asha 200, run on Symbian S40 operating software. They are a crucial part of Nokia's strategy in India and African countries. While Asha 200 will be available from mid-December, Asha 300 will hit Indian market in early January.

The Finnish company hopes that with Asha phones it will be able to woo younger and price-conscious consumers even as it targets the smartphone segment with devices running on Windows Phone 7.

"At Nokia, we strive to offer our consumers the best technology suited to them through affordable and relevant innovations. Nokia Asha 200 and Asha 300 will set new benchmarks in the mobile internet and music space," said D Shivakumar, managing director at Nokia India. Both phones will be compatible with Nokia's 'unlimited music service'.

In markets like India, Nokia has faced stiff competition from local players like Micromax andKarbonn. Though it is still market leader in the country, its share has come down by over 20% in the last few years.

Asha 200 is Nokia's first QWERTY dual-SIM device, offering one-click access to email and chat via Nokia Messaging and other social networking services like Facebook. The device comes with a 2 megapixel camera with 4X zoom, and enhanced stereo FM radio. Asha 300 features both a touchscreen and keypad. It supports 3G and has a 5 megapixel camera for taking photographs, which can be organized and edited in the Nokia gallery.

On Thursday, the company also added a new phone - X2-02 - to its line of dual-SIM devices. Nokia X2-02 comes with easy swap and gives users the option to personalize up to five SIM cards. Nokia claimed that with features like play-via-radio feature, FM recording, and dedicated music keys Nokia X2-02 offers "complete music experience".

While the company did not announce any prices for the three phones, sources said that all of them are likely to cost between Rs 4000 to Rs 6000.

On Thursday Nokia also said that its music service, which was so far available only on a few high-end phones, will be now open to all phones running on Symbian 40 operating software.

Launching the service, Shivakumar said, "Nokia has been synonymous with digital music in this country. We have pioneered many initiatives in this space starting with pre-installed music, launch of music albums on mobile phones and then 'Nokia music unlimited' for our hi-end phones. Our latest offering on feature phones underscores our commitment to democratise music by taking it to the masses."

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