Nokia Asha 501 launched with new Asha operating system, partners with Facebook

As many rumours have suggested, Nokia has launched a new Asha handset in New Delhi, India - the Nokia Asha 501.

It's a tiny device - only 99.2 x 58 x 12.1mm and with a 3-inch 320 x 240 touchscreen display - and is aimed at the entry-level market. It runs on Nokia's newly created Asha operating system and focuses on social media and sharing.

While small and inexpensive, the Asha 501 does have some other decent specifications. There's a 5-megapixel camera, single or dual-SIM capabilities, and a removable mono body. The phone comes with just 128MB of memory on board, but has a 4GB MMC (Multimedia Card) included. That can be swapped out for an optional larger one, up to 32GB.

Although the processor used and battery capacity haven't been discussed, the latter allows standby time of up to 48 days. Talktime is quoted as up to 17 hours.

From the box, the Asha 501 will come with a host of software pre-installed, including Facebook, Twitter, instant messaging and Weather Channel apps. There will also be several games from Gameloft, including Big Little City and Real Football 2013, and the phone is part of the EA deal Nokia offers where the user can download any of 40 free games offered on the manufacturer's store.

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop also announced that the company has partnered with Facebook and global operators for the phone. This deal will allow users to access Facebook on their phones over the web or through the dedicated app for free. Time spent on Facebook won't be charged to a data plan.

The list of operators to sign up is yet to be revealed.

The phone's price is $99 (£64), but it will be free on network price plans (we would expect at the lower end of the scale). It will come in black, white, green, red, blue and yellow and will appear in the UK sometime towards the end of summer. Elop confirmed that it will hit India first, arriving next month.