Why don't Nokia's Asha phones run Windows Phone? Stephen Elop explains

In a Q&A session with My Nokia Blog, Stephen Elop has elaborated on why Nokia's low end range of smartphones, the Asha line (which we recently saw a new phone added to), don't run Windows Phone. Essentially, Elop believes that at such low price points, the quality of a Windows Phone would not be up to scratch, referring to super low-end Android devices that often have horrible performance on cheap internals.

Bringing Lumia smartphones down the price point of the Asha range, or having the Asha devices run Windows Phone, would ruin the integrity of the Lumia and Windows Phone brands. Elop said that Asha smartphones such as the Asha 501 are designed specifically for the needs of low end markets, and the software they run is optimized to deliver a great experience on cheap hardware. Having such cheap devices run Windows Phone poorly is the last thing Nokia wants.

Despite this statement, the gap in price between Asha devices and the lowest-end Lumia device - the Lumia 520 - is quite small. The Asha 501 goes for $99 outright, while the Lumia 520 is available these days for as low as $130 outright. That said, although the price difference is only $30, the Lumia 520 might still be unaffordable for some in developing markets, and thats where the Asha line will be successful.

Source: MyNokiaBlog

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13 Comments

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I really like Nokia for this reason, they actually care about their low-end and mid-range lineup. Other phone manufacturers make one really nice flagship and that's about it.

Elop could not have said it better. Why ruin the phone experience initially and lose a future customer for WP. Android did that with me initially.

Android middle range and low end suffer horrible lock ups and freezes and lag.

Can't wait to see the new reveal on the 14th and the Lumia 928 for Verizon.

I think people need to remember these phones will go down in price over time. Look at the Lumia range like the 620, was about £190 from Phones4U on release and now its like £160.

I think we will see the Asha 501 sell for maybe even £70/80 in the UK a few months after release.

I see these phones being great for parents (50+), I know Ill be buying my mum one, she currently has a cheap £40 Android phone with an unresponsive touch screen and its lags all the time. This phone will be perfect for her.

I don't care, I want to give a couple of dollars more for a Lumia 5xx if I want a low-end smartphone. However, I'm on a more powerful Lumia right now.

Those 100 dollars are a monthly paycheck for where these phones are aimed. The developing world has different needs in a smartphone than us first worlders.

It makes sense. I bet the 521 is sold very close to cost and it is basically the bare minimum to run Windows Phone 8 that they allow. It could probably run on lower end hardware if they spent more time optimizing, but they have better things to spend development time on.

I'm glad they're also not releasing new WP7 phones as those could hit the $100 price point. WP7 needs to just die because it would have very poor support. They shouldn't have released the first-generation Lumias because dropping support on those alienated a lot of people from buying WP again.

mrp04 said,
It makes sense. I bet the 521 is sold very close to cost and it is basically the bare minimum to run Windows Phone 8 that they allow. It could probably run on lower end hardware if they spent more time optimizing, but they have better things to spend development time on.

Exactly.

And, don't forget that the excellent stand-by time of around one month(!) are impossible to achieve with WP8, iOS or Android smartphones, unless you'd supply a brick-sized battery with the device. For many that just need to make calls, don't live in areas plastered with wall-sockets to recharge and need to keep data throughput minimal when browsing the WWW, the Asha devices are a very good proposition.

Adopt Android please for the Asha..

Superd Hardware but really not taking off due to that silly old and forgotten by apps developer S series OS..

Keep Windows Phone @ a premium where you offer everything to compete with likes of iPhone and Galaxy S4 but offer android in Asha range and keep it a lower range module only, that I hope wont effect Microsoft relation but will allow Nokia to generate volume also..

Choto Cheeta said,
Adopt Android please for the Asha..

Superd Hardware but really not taking off due to that silly old and forgotten by apps developer S series OS..

Keep Windows Phone @ a premium where you offer everything to compete with likes of iPhone and Galaxy S4 but offer android in Asha range and keep it a lower range module only, that I hope wont effect Microsoft relation but will allow Nokia to generate volume also..

You want to run Android on devices which were deemed too weak to run Windows Phone? Windows Phone is WAY more efficient than Android. Running Android on a device like an Asha device is just asking for an incredibly horrible user experience.

No one cares here in India where you get 2.3 Android Samsung device with dual sim at USD 75/80 mark with horrible exp but users love and they are selling like hot cake

Choto Cheeta said,
No one cares here in India where you get 2.3 Android Samsung device with dual sim at USD 75/80 mark with horrible exp but users love and they are selling like hot cake

Well then you can just continue buying the Android devices. Nokia and Microsoft don't want to hurt the Windows Phone name with devices which won't run it well.