It may be the era of the affordable smartphone. Earlier this year, for example, Google announced it was knocking $100 off the cost of its already affordable Nexus 4 phone making the 8GB model $199 and the 16GB $249.
Then Chinese manufacturer ZTE announced it would make its own phones  available for just $79.99 with no contract to U.S. buyers via the Internet. The phones run on the recently introduced Firefox operating system by Mozilla.
And most recently, Apple introduced its iPhone 5c starting at just $99 , an unheard of move by the tech giant known for its premium prices.
So it probably shouldn’t surprise anyone that Nokia, along with a high end phone and new Windows tablet, has released its own crop of budget smartphones starting at just $69.
Nokia introduced the three new phones at its recent Nokia World event in Abu Dhabi. The phones are all part of the company’s Asha line of devices and are upgrades of its earlier Asha 501.
Neil Broadly, a member of Nokia’s marketing team, says the phones will include:
- The Nokia Asha 500, the most affordable at just $69.
- The Nokia Asha 502 with 5 megapixel camera and LED flash for $88.
- The Nokia Asha 503, a smartphone with 3G connectivity for $99.
Here’s an overview of the Asha 503 from SlashGear:
More Smartphones in Emerging Markets
The phones seem loaded with apps and designed especially for social sharing. But before small business owners in the U.S. get too excited, these devices are targeted for emerging markets. So there’s no hint if or when they will be available in the U.S.
That said, the introduction of the new Asha phones fits a Nokia objective – putting a smartphone into the hand of everyone on the planet.
For businesses of any size that are online and selling globally, this means a growing market…especially for those with a strong mobile presence.
Image: Nokia, Asha 500