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Nokia has announced a series of new S40 phones called “Asha” – mass-market devices with smart-phone features: Good-sized touch screens, 1 GHz processors, WiFi connectivity, social networking integration, and more. Prices starting around €60 retail.
In case you don’t know, the S40 series is built on Java ME and has a huge deployed base in many parts of the world where price/performance is critical. Along with the new phones, Nokia is also making available the new Nokia SDK 2.0 for Java (beta), which enables developers to build rich Java applications with multi-touch, sensor support, an improved Maps API, and the Lightweight UI Toolkit (LWUIT) (more API & tools details). Furthermore, there is a host of developer information, the remote device access service, and even a porting guide to help you port your Android app to the new Asha platform.
Last, but not least: More and better options to monetize your applications. Nokia has enabled in-app advertising and in-app purchasing, and improved the way applications can be discovered by customers. Nokia has seen downloads from the Nokia app store rise by 63%, now totaling billions.
From what I’m hearing, the revenue opportunities on S40 for developers are often way better than what is typical for other smart-phone platforms (where competition is huge and consumers are fickle).
Just a quick note: Nokia is currently doing a number of webinars on Series 40 development, including mobile Java and web apps topics. Check out the complete list here.