Asha series or its design should be brought back

The only place where Nokia phones kept their distinguished design is in the domain of feature phones. Joyfulness, playfulness and simplicity are almost completely reduced from the Nokia smartphones and the reason for that is not the lack of skilful designers but the way the modern smartphones are made. ODMs dictate the shape and almost the whole arrangement of the parts, while the external design features can only be seen on the back cover texture and maybe the colours.

I remember some 10 years or more ago when generic phones came into the picture, the whole world of smartphones was black and white. Nokia brought colour with its last Symbian and new Lumia series. Also, maybe the best design experiments were done in the Asha models where designers like Peter Skillman really push the boundaries of smartphone materials used to change the looks and shapes.

Just check the hardware design of the affordable Asha 500, 502, and 503 where layers of polycarbonate, one clear and one vividly coloured were combined to get great final looks without extra weight added. The same designers worked also on the UX which was scaled from Nokia N9. The Asha series had one of the best and simplest UIs in the smartphone world and the same principles were later used for the Nokia X series.

Check the video where Skillman is talking about the design of the Nokia 501.


You won’t see these kinds of videos today, as Nokia Mobile doesn’t put as much effort into the design of its latest phones, but a few years ago there was a great video with Raun Forsyth talking about the design of some great Nokia phones from HMD Global.

I really liked some of the ideas Nokia came up with with the Asha series, and I’d love to see a device like this prototype Asha phone, but with a screen on the front completely covered by LCD that can be controlled by gestures, as seen in the Asha Software Platform. Asha trademark has expired at EUIPO which suggests that there won’t be any new Asha phones with the Nokia logo. However, I think that there is still a place for colourful phones, even today when black and white feature phones are all you can get.

Check Peter Skillman’s work on his web page.


Thanks Rocky for keeping the memory of Asha phones alive 😉