Every time Nokia announces another “Asha” low-end phone there are always people out there trying to extrapolate that into an indication that Nokia is giving up on Microsoft and abandoning the Windows Phone operating system that they are supposedly so committed to. *cough*VentureBeat*cough*TheVerge*cough* The truth is that Nokia has never stopped working on low-end inexpensive phones running their s40 operating system and have consistently been releasing new versions of these types of phones the whole time.
Back in 2011, during the Nokia Windows Phone announcement, they said outright that they are planning to sell another 150 million Symbian devices in the coming years. Entry level and mid-range devices are to include Symbian for a while. According to Nokia, they are not abandoning Symbian or Meego, but are implementing a major shift towards Windows Phone. It was always their plan to continue releasing Symbian devices. Here’s the video from the original announcement:
Sure, the Nokia Asha 501 represents a new “Asha Platform” which is still based on Nokia’s s40 operating system, and they are putting some resources into these low-end phones, but again that seems to have been the plan from the beginning. Nokia does want to eventually discontinue s40 and the Asha line, or at least they did when they announced the switch to Windows Phone, but they still have yet to get their Windows Phone offerings to be as inexpensive as their low-end Asha line of phones can be. There’s still no denying that Nokia’s Asha phones are much cheaper although the gap is certainly narrowing with Nokia’s new Lumia 520, of course.
We don’t know exactly when Nokia really planned to discontinue the Asha line (which was announced at the same time as the Lumia line), but it seems like Nokia still wants to keep producing phones with two different operating systems and a diversity like that is probably a good idea.
UPDATE: Sorry, the new Asha Platform is based on s40 which is not Symbian, but it’s still an operating system Nokia has been using and working on for a very long time and it’s still not Windows Phone.