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October 30, 2013

Delivering on the promise to Nokia Asha developers

As the Nokia Asha Platform continues to evolve, developers get enhanced tools to create amazing apps for us to enjoy.


Wondering about the popularity of the Nokia Asha Platform? Let’s use the launch of the Nokia Asha 501, and subsequent activity as a barometer, shall we? Since the launch of the device this past May, app downloads over the next four months topped 29 million, averaging 2.3 million per week.

When compared to an earlier full-touch Asha device such as the Asha 311, the Asha 501 is experiencing five times more engagement in terms of downloads; and there has been a 660 percent growth in the portfolio of available apps for this device in the Nokia Store since launch, with thousands of apps now available for consumers worldwide, according to Ketan Kittur, director of developer products and product marketing for mobile phones at Nokia.

Ketan sees this in-flow of apps and growing consumer engagement for the Asha 501 as one of the many healthy signs not only for the platform as a whole, but also as an indicator of developer interest, too. “You can get amazing results when you combine a great platform with great developers,” Ketan says.

As we saw recently during Nokia World in Abu Dhabi, the Asha Platform continues to expand with the introduction of three more phones to the line-up; and enhancements to the user experience like an improved Fastlane to more easily interact with various experiences delivered to your phone.

Big-name apps continue to be added to the mix for Asha users, including the highly successful WhatsApp which is registering 250,000 new users every day through Nokia phones, 350 million monthly active users and will be a standard feature of the new Asha devices that were announced during Nokia World.

The developer opportunity of Asha

For developers who are looking at the Asha Platform, Ketan thinks the experience of the social gaming app Qeep is noteworthy.


“From a developer’s perspective, the Nokia Asha device series and especially the Asha 501, is extremely interesting,” said Christian Schulte, managing director at Qeep. “For us, it’s the right platform to connect to the next billion.”

Why develop for Asha?


When creating apps for Asha phones, developers have the choice of either Java or Web apps. Among the enhancements to the Asha Platform that are now available, developers will find new APIs to create engaging apps, including a Share API to share images, text and URLs via social networks, SMS/MMS, Bluetooth, Slam, etc.; a VoIP API with custom call user interface, in-call operations and multi-call support; and Oauth support to access private data. Web apps will see enhanced notification options, as well.

“For developers, Asha is now a robust developer offering. They have access to a lot of APIs which they can easily make available as a part of their apps,” Ketan says. “Many developers are now using it to create very compelling and engaging apps.”

All of the tools and SDKs to develop for the Asha Platform are free to download from the Nokia Developer website.

“If you have apps today that leverage a lot of APIs, you can carry those over with this platform,” Ketan says. “You will be surprised at the functionality we have.”

Developers have access to a new emulator for app testing that is part of the Java SDK, and Ketan is also proud of the world-class support that Nokia provides to Asha developers.

For those who haven’t considered developing apps for the Asha Platform in the past, now might be the time to get moving. There are guides for those who want to port their apps from Blackberry or Android; and Nokia’s DVLUP program, with global rewards worth $5 million, is now open to Asha developers, too.

“We have worked really hard to rethink the developer promise,” Ketan notes. “If you have developed an app for the Asha 501, when we launch the new set of devices, your app will work on those devices without the need to recode. But, if you want to enhance your app with new features, you can do that quite easily, too.”