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Nokia Brings Much Deserved Attention to Its Asha Line by Introducing Premium Developer Program

Aulia Masna - 28 March 2013

Last year Nokia introduced Premium Developer Program for Lumia at the Lumia Apps Olympiad. The US$99 a year program provides benefits worth up to $1500 which includes one year memberships to three services, Windows Phone Developer Center, Telerik RadControls, which is a suite of marketing and publishing tools for Windows Phone apps, and access to buddy.com cloud API, as well as two tickets for Nokia's tech support service for app development assistance. This week, Nokia announced a similar program for Asha developers.

Given the Asha line's abilities, Nokia is pushing the range as the absolute entry level smartphones for those who can't afford its range of Lumia devices. Powered by gigahertz processor, up to three megapixel cameras, an application ecosystem, 3G connectivity, multitouch screen on selected models, and perhaps most importantly, batteries that can last for days on a single charge, the Asha has quickly become a very attractive range of phones.

The program was designed specifically to assist app discoverability on the application marketplace for Asha phones. According to Narenda Wicaksono, Nokia Developer Manager for Southeast Asia on his blog post, a recent post on DailySocial about this particular issue helped push the agenda forward in delivering this program.

With just about every application development tool package there is a simulator app to assist software engineers in testing their applications before they are deployed to the devices directly. However, nothing beats testing applications on actual devices, which is why Nokia will be including an Asha 310 device as part of the Asha Premium Developer Program, with two tech support tickets reserved for the most serious development issues.

Those who have submitted high quality Asha apps to the Nokia Store for full touch Asha devices will win a chance to have assisted promotional efforts on the Nokia Store or a US$500 credit to run a promotional campaign on the Nokia Ad Exchange network. Unlike the Lumia developer program, Asha developers can sign up to this program for free on this Nokia developer site.

The Asha line, true to the meaning of the name, has turned out to be Nokia's saving grace in its efforts to recapture its former glory.

At a time when Nokia's fortunes are in serious decline and Lumia's sales taking its time to grow, Asha device sales reached over nine million units globally in the December 2012 quarter which pushed Nokia over the line to profitability. Nokia's Asha phones actually eclipsed the sales of its Lumia phones which reached 6.6 million for the same quarter.

Combined, the two lines had managed to help Nokia to nearly match the sales numbers it achieved before February 2011 which was when CEO Stephen Elop, in his infamous burning platform memo, essentially killed everything that Nokia was working on up to that point.

The Lumia may be grabbing all the headlines on gadget sites, but the Asha line lays down an even more important platform for the company to reach a much greater population range on the lower end of the economic scale, which are just beginning to transition from feature phones to smartphones.

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