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Nokia puts WhatsApp front and centre with Asha 210 social phone

Despite falling behind the mobile phone trends that have taken hold over the past few years, Nokia is determined catch up. The Finnish firm’s latest effort is the newly announced Nokia Asha 210, a social phone with a QWERTY keyboard.

The handset’s primary calling card is its dedicated WhatsApp button, designed to bring easy access to the popular instant messaging service, which will be available for free to users of the Asha 210 thanks to a partnership between Nokia and WhatsApp. The phone also integrates support for Facebook, Twitter and email “to ensure that people are never more than a few clicks away from their friends and family.”

"The Nokia Asha 210 really stands out giving super-social consumers new ways to express their personalities through design, colour and innovations like the world's first WhatsApp button," said Timo Toikkanen, Nokia executive vice president of mobile phones, in a statement. "It has been designed to allow people to easily update their social networks, stay in touch with friends and share user created content."

"We are focused on delivering the best WhatsApp experience to as many people as possible," said WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton. "We are very excited about our partnership with Nokia Asha complementing our strategy of giving people around the world an easy experience when keeping in touch with their friends."

As for other features, the handset includes a 2.4in QVGA display, 2-megapixel rear camera, and the option for dual-SIM slots. It can handle a microSD card with up to 32GB of storage, and also has WiFi and Bluetooth 2.1 connectivity. The Asha 210 weighs in at 97.3g, with measurements of 111.5 x 60 x 11.8mm. It also includes a handful of photo-editing and -sharing apps that may not be impressive to a smartphone owner but admittedly seem pretty neat for a feature phone.

The Nokia Asha 210 will retail for approximately $72 (£50), and will begin shipping in yellow, cyan, black, magenta and white sometime in the next few months.