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Nokia's WhatsApp QWERTY phone to take on BlackBerry

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Asha 210
Asha 210

Nokia has continued its trend of introducing low-cost, social Asha smartphones with the launch its new Qwerty Asha 210. Taking a cue from the HTC ChaCha and Salsa, Nokia has embedded a dedicated social button, offering Facebook integration in Europe and Latin America (similar to the Asha 205), while users in the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Africa will be able to take advantage of Nokia's new WhatsApp button — which Nokia says makes it the first device to offer such functionality.

Nokia's partnership with WhatsApp will allow Asha 210 owners to enjoy free WhatsApp usage for as long as they own the device, connecting them with owners of iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices. The handset is available in single or dual-SIM variants and features a 2-megapixel camera which is accessed using a dedicated hardkey on the front of the device, directly opposite the Facebook or WhatsApp button (depending on the region in which it is sold). The Asha 210 will ship with a number of the new apps and services Nokia announced at Mobile World Congress, including its self-portrait and fast editing photo features, as well as the its Slam feature which allows users to wirelessly share contacts and media over a Bluetooth connection.

It's the first handset to offer a dedicated WhatsApp button

Nokia has ensured that the new Asha 210 remains affordable, pricing it at $72. While the device isn't as smart as BlackBerry's range of Qwerty devices, Nokia hopes the Asha 210 and it's dedicated social and messaging features will appeal to consumers in emerging markets, offering a low-cost alternative in markets where BlackBerry still maintains a decent market share. The handset will come in the company's standard colors — yellow, cyan, black, magenta, and white — and will start shipping later this quarter.