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Nokia's New $99 Phone Could Mean Trouble For Microsoft

But, from the looks of things, the new user touch interface is something special. Easy to master and simple to use. Nothing is more than a swipe away. Facebook (FB - Get Report), Twitter, FourSquare, Bejeweled and many others come pre-installed. Thousands of older Series applets should be easy to port over to the new system. There's also a redesigned Web browser. And, the Asha 501 offers a number of very colorful outer shell options.

The new design also gives Nokia a way to compete with the dozens of inexpensive Google (GOOG - Get Report) Android and Blackberry (BBRY - Get Report) models available in these emerging markets.

As this new platform matures, and Nokia adds it to larger, more capable hardware (3G connectivity is promised for future Asha models), they'll have another weapon to use in their dealings with Microsoft. They could be especially useful if Nokia ever decided to downplay the Windows Phone OS and go their own way.

Even though Nokia says the new phone won;t be coming to North American markets, we've asked them for a chance to try an Asha 501. We look forward to the chance to see what the new Asha Software Platform is all about.

--Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

Gary Krakow is TheStreet's senior technology correspondent.
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