Its no secret that instant messaging applications have become quite popular than texting, because while the latter incurs charges, IM apps allow users to send messages around the world for virtually no cost at all. WhatsApp is one of the most widely used IM applications out there, and it is available for a number of platforms. Originally announced at Nokia World 2013 in Abu Dhabi, WhatsApp for Nokia Asha 501 has been released today.

Before users can install the app, they will need to install an over-the-air software update that starts rolling out this week. Without first installing the update WhatsApp for Asha 501 can not be downloaded on the device. When users log in for the first time, the app will automatically locate contacts who’re already using WhatsApp. The app can be used to send text messages, photos and videos as well as voice messages. Messages are either routed through the 2G cellular connection or through Wi-Fi. The app is available as a free download for Nokia Asha 501. The Asha 500, 502 and 503 phones, which were recently announced, will have WhatsApp pre-installed when they start selling in the coming weeks. The app opens up a whole new communication channel for Asha users, who will be able to communicate with friends and family even if they are on different phones made by different manufacturers.

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