Nokia's Elop unveils Asha: Phones for the next Billion

"Earlier this year we realized the need to shift our strategy so we could deliver even better experiences." So Stephen Elop kicked off the Nokia World 2011 keynote, the CEO painting a picture of the company as a reliable old friend who was very much in need of a makeover. "Generally people like Nokia, we're durable, we're trustworthy, we're reliable" Elop explained. "We comb our hair neatly, we always pick you up after work when we said we would. But we wanted more ... and that wouldn't happen without change."

Seven new NFC phones – the most open NFC models of any vendor – and the MeeGo powered N9 were a part of that, Elop explained, along with a significant step into the dual-SIM market. That includes technologies that allow you to switch the SIM card without rebooting the phone.

"Who is the next billion? Where are these people ... how do they define life's little adventures?" Elop asked rhetorically, going on to suggest that Nokia's research says it's young people: "extremely savvy mobile users" with far-reaching demands but limited budgets. For today, Nokia is announcing four new mobile phones, the Nokia Asher series. Stay tuned for full details!