Nokia has updated Asha 501 with WhatsApp, voice-over-IP and Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync features. The company has continued to improve the competitiveness of the Asha family while waiting for Microsoft to complete the acquisition of its devices and services business. At the moment, the company is still facing insurmountable competition from low-cost android based devices.

The GSM Asha 501 was launched in May and it features a 3-inch screen, Wi-Fi, a 3.2 megapixel camera and the choice between one or two sim cards. The list price was $99 without taxes or subsidies at the time of the launch.

The upgrade offers users similar software to what is used in the recently announced Asha 500, 502 and 503. Once the update has been received, users can download the WhatsApp client and begin sending instant message.

The software allows users to make voice calls over data connections through the use of social messaging Apps like Nimbuzz in the beginning and more are expected soon. Nokia has also implemented the Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync features for enterprise users.

Nokia has also made significant changes to the operating system, not just the third-party applications. Users for example can long press the screen to access the camera settings, swipe the screen to start the camera and also swipe to switch to the video mode to the image mode and vice versa.

Fastlane is a key feature in the user interface that shows social networks, apps and recently accessed contacts. Users can now personalize the application to feature their desired contents. The users can also choose to view full notifications or notification icons on the lock screen.

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