A Nokia Asha handset might not be your first choice if you want to play games on your mobile, sure, but the Finnish firm's new Asha 501 might be a more attractive proposition than you first thought.

For starters, the Asha 501 serves as the official launch device for Nokia's new Asha platform, which may well offer customers a viable alternative to low-end Android devices.

Designed to be faster and more responsive than its older brothers, the touchscreen Asha 501 is available in six bold colours - rather like Nokia's Lumia handsets - and provides access to a large, and growing, selection of games.

UK bound

While primarily designed for emerging markets, the Asha 501 is heading to the UK from July.

In terms of additional features, the Asha 501 phone boasts control gestures that debuted in Nokia's MeeGo-based N900, plus a new "Fastlane" home screen. This latter features grants you easy access to recent calls and future appointments, among other things.

The Asha 501 packs a 3.2-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, memory card slot, and FM radio. A dual-SIM version will also be available, but it's unlikely to be sold in the UK.

With a retail price of approximately £60 on pre-pay and a battery standby time of 48 days, the Asha 501 should prove attractive to consumers looking for something stylish, affordable, and energy efficient.

However, the phone's impressive battery life is partly down to a lack of 3G (there is wi-fi support to compensate for this) and the fact that the Asha 501 sports a tiny 3-inch display with a resolution of just 240x320 pixels.


And here's the bit you were waiting for...

You will be able to download 40 free games from EA, including Plants vs Zombies, from the Nokia Store for the Asha 501, along with apps for popular services such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and What's App.

Nokia is promising to stock many more apps and games in the coming months, offering plenty of incentives to developers to get them supporting the platform.

Fingers crossed, eh.