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Eyes on Nokia's hot new dual-layer polycarbonate shell for Asha devices

While Lumia most definitely stole the show at this weeks Nokia World 2013 event in Abu Dhabi, there was more to see than just Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone devices. Nokia also introduced a new range of Asha devices, which while not exactly what we're in to, does have a pretty neat and unique feature. And that, is the dual-layer polycarbonate shell. And it rocks. We know there's at least a few of you out there that wanted to see this, so we grabbed a couple of photos to try and show it off. 

So, what exactly is it? The shell on the Asha devices like the new 502 and 503 has two layers to it. The outside is a clear polycarbonate layer, totally see through and not a trace of color. That comes beneath, where the second, colored polycarbonate layer resides. The effect is pretty unique, and with the clear layer over the top the colors underneath really pop. The green one we have here is really sharp and really bright. 

From some angles, you can see a little more of the clear than perhaps we'd like. The outer layer isn't the exact same shape as the inner layer, and as such the corners are a little sharper and have a little more of a see-through quality to them. But that's if we're being super picky, generally, it looks awesome. 

So, the big question is; why are we interested? Well, since this looks pretty hot, we'd love to see a future Lumia Windows Phone device come to market with this same kind of effect on the outside. There's nothing to say that Nokia would be doing such a thing, but we can only hope, right? 

Oh, and for what it's worth, we shot these few snaps from the show floor with the Nokia Lumia 1020.

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Reader comments

Eyes on Nokia's hot new dual-layer polycarbonate shell for Asha devices

72 Comments

I'm excited to see what Microsoft/Nokia do with Asha going forward. Add a few more Microsoft services (like SkyDrive, Xbox Music, Office, etc) and you're looking at a device that could lead a lot of people to Windows Phone someday when they want a smartphone. This little device was cool to hold though. 

If that..."thing"...goes forward, I'm betting Microsoft will be canceling Asha right-away and try to impose WP over it.

I highly doubt Microsoft would do something like that. The Asha brand is huge in the largest markets in the World and axing the Asha brand would be an incredibly bad decision from a business perspective. Microsoft purchased the Asha brand a long with Lumia for a reason.

The Asha line will probably be loaded with Microsoft services while continuing to be a feature phone. They get users in developing nations hooked on Microsoft services while giving them a taste of Windows Phone styling and when those people are ready to move from a feature phone to a Smartphone the logical choice is a Lumia device. Most likely a Lumia 5XX or Lumia 6XX since they would be the next step from Asha and affordable for people in those countries.

Asha isn't going anywhere even if the sale of Nokia to Microsoft goes through. Worst case scenario is that Microsoft gets a foothold in the services world (Outlook.com, SkyDrive, XBOX Music, etc...) and even if people move on from an Asha device to an Android or iPhone they will still likely use the Microsoft services they started with from the Asha phone. 

Infact, the low end market is where Microsoft needs to win to make Windows Phone succesful on the global scale at this stage with Android and iPhone saturating the higher end. If you get people the kick the tires at the entry level they'll be more likely to stick with Asha/Windows Phone as they move up the market.

This is exactly what I wanted to say. Asha is key for moving people to WP. It doesn't compete with or threaten WP as they are in completely different price brackets (i.e. <$100 vs. $150+) and have separate features such as dual-SIM which appeal to those markets.

Nokia sold more than 200 million asha phones last year. So this is indeed a great asset for Microsoft to win new souls with. By adding Microsoft apps and a few games apps you can entice these new souls to go Windows Phone in the short and long run. With Asha Microsoft is the second biggest phone/mobile company in the world behind Samsung, so Microsoft has a lot to lose if they we're to do away with the Asha line. It would not make any business sense. Microsoft has already said that they will add Windows, Skydrive, Sype etc features on these feature phones, so there is no chance of Microsoft doing away with the Asha brand.

These Asha dual-shot bodies are nice.  But my top pick is still the dual-shot shells on the Lumia 620.  Those had color on the transluscent outer shell, and were unbelieveably cool looking.  Even though I was already sporting my cyan 920 when the 620 was announced, I still had gadget envy... the dual-shot shells were THAT awesome!

 

totally, I LUUURVE my 620 w/ yellow shell. As much as I want a 1020 for the features and camera (620's camera is rubbish), the looks and handling of the 620 are top-notch. I'm tossing up what to buy myself for Christmas, and it'll probably be a couple of shells (I'm thinking cyan and lime green).

 

With the clear-on-yellow dualshot, my favourite part of the look is that the keys, buttons and Nokia logo have a drop shadow! A small think I know, but it makes a big difference. Also, the semitransparent clear layer makes the whole phone look and feel both soft (in feel) and bold (in colour).

Looks cool, Asha devices are well built, have loads of features and sells in millions in the developing countries. Hopefully Windows phone can be shipped on these devices in future as hardware prices falls and processor performance becomes good enough just like in computers since the Core 2 Duo days.

My core 2Duo Quad still runs like charm when playing video games like battlefield 3 or do intense web browsing.

It would be an interesting phone for my wife. Sadly none of these are sold in the US and we're sided with Verizon. What's strange is that she uses Netflix and web browsers on smartphones and tablets, but wants a feature-phone as a daily driver. Gotta respect that. As for the case, it seems it could be sturdy enough for when she becomes clumsy: dropping the phone while working.

Well Asha 503 is the global device and is coming to the US. I don't know if it will support Verizon, but AT&T for sure :) GSM :P

Doesn't really matter. They're small for phones these days. (3" QVGA screens with bezels slightly thicker than that of an iPhone)

Besides, this is actually normal for a feature phone.

Looks cheap to me. Hope they don't bring that design to lumias, though they're in need of a new one.

I love it. It's like phone version of a jello mold with fruit suspended in it. Except instead of cold hard bits of fruit, there's a phone in there!

Love the design personally. not the green color though. ;)
There was a higher end Asha rumored with this design. Would love to have seen it. Happily paid ~100 euros for it to be my secondary phone with insane battery life these asha phones are pulling. 

Would dual-layer polycarbonate make it more durable?
I have a couple little cracks in the corners of my 928.
It's amazing to see how much abuse a phone can take, on YouTube, and then a couple drops break it, in real life.

I'd take a midrange WP8 device with a shell like this... maybe something like the 820 or 920, specs like that?

It's a different effect. I like both, but I think I like this way of doing it more, it's a bit more vivid when you see it up close with having the clear layer, adds a shine

It looks like they just thickened the phone unnecessarily. I like the effect, but especially around the edges, as the article said, this looks too big. I would rather buy this phone with just the green layer.

Hands on it prob wont be as thick as you imagine it to be. Looking at the pix of the lumia 1020 the camera bump looked big, but in life it was tiny, can be hard to judge size in pictures. For a feature phone it looks pretty sweet :-)

I absolutely LOVE this design. It reminds me of my love for the green dual colour lumia 620 when it was launched but this is stunning. Like a shiny green gem/prism. Design wise Nokia smacks down other companies who go for very generic and conventional designs. The only one to match them is Apple and even they are pretty conventional though very premium. I would love to see a low end Lumia with this design and swappable shells. Maybe the update to the Lumia 520.

Someone like my brother could use this device. He's not into the latest technological advances, like I am, but I reckon these low-end phones could help persuade someone like him that smartphones aren't all "rubbish" and they are very affordable! And when it comes to Windows Phone, you can't get any better. ;)

Wow, that looks incredible. I'd love to see it come to the Lumia line, but it probably wont because people are fixated on ultra thin. It's gotten to a point where devices are so thin it's a detriment to usability, but the trend is clearly going to continue.

My teenage daughter loves the look of these and it would be perfect for her. If I can get one that will work with AT&T I'm buyin!

While I love Lumia, when those Asha's were announced there were so many applause. There were applause for the Lumia's too but too say the Lumia is the only one who stole the show is um.... Yeah no.

Asha is not a feature phone.. Its a semi smart phone... Many developers along with some big titels are currently developing their apps to this symbian kind of platform.. :)