[Nokia]–The Nokia 3310 – a beloved phone model that’s been out of date for a decade – has been re-launched as a new, colourful, pared-down phone for sale by HMD Global.
At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the company re-launched the phone as a “One More Thing” at its press conference.
The intro was swift: HMD Global CEO Arto Nummela held up the phone and said the only three things that matter. Its battery lasts a month, it has Snake, and it has the Nokia ringtone. And then he was gone.
The new phone, which costs just more than $50, debuted at the expo in Barcelona. It’s a “feature phone”, the industry term for a device that doesn’t have the capabilities of a smartphone. But it’s definitely been upgraded since the early 2000s; the new model has a camera, a colour screen and an mp3 player.
Not everyone was impressed. An observer wrote that the new phone “feels light and cheap” and called the use of the Nokia 3310 name a “marketing trick” to bring attention to HMD Global’s new Android Smartphones – also under the Nokia brand.
The company purchased the right to make Nokia phones last year. Rumours have recently been percolated that among the offerings would be a throwback phone, reviving the 3310.
The Nokia 3310 model was technically “retired” in 2005, with some 126 million units sold, according to Nokia:
“But a few die-hard fans refused to retire their devices, noting the convenience of a battery that lasts for days. And even those who moved on to shinier smartphones still fondly remembered the 3310 – and as touchscreen after touchscreen shattered, they thought back wistfully to the old phone’s near-indestructibility”.
“The phone eventually gained a legendary reputation on the internet as the ‘Chuck Norris’ of phones, with an everlasting battery and supernatural strength, destined to survive the apocalypse and capable of standing in for hammers when necessary.”
The 3310 is still very much a feature phone. It has a web browser, but only barely-it’s a dumbed-down version of Opera, basically there for emergency tweeting. It exists for you to make phone calls, send texts the way you did a decade ago, and play Snake. The 3310 weighs less than three ounces, and its battery lasts an absurd 31 days in standby time, or up to 22 hours of talk time.
“My editor suggested the phone should be called the 3311 to signify this, which I think sounds pretty cool. The new 3310 has a camera, for one thing, a 2-megapixel shooter. It also has a 2.4-inch, 240×320 screen, which is hilariously small and low-res but still a huge improvement over the original. That model’s resolution was listed as “five lines.” It feels weird that this is worth mentioning, but it has colours now! The handset comes in white, blue, red, and yellow, and its edges round smoothly, more like a polished pebble than a chunky brick.”
Time will tell if the new model has the original phone’s legendary durability. But there’s one trait from the original phone that’s definitely still available: Snake.
However, the market for feature phones is far bigger than the novelty buyers. In emerging markets, where money, data, and battery life are precious commodities, a device like the 3310 has huge appeal.
In Africa, for instance, in mid-2016 smartphone purchases actually declined while feature phones went up more than 30 percent. The feature phone can be for some a burner phone, others a secondary device, and for many a primary means of communication. HMD probably won’t sell 125 million more 3310s, but it’s definitely making a real phone for real people.
The question remains that in an era of ever-advancing phone technology, can nostalgia give a boost to a not-so-Smartphone?Please Follow Us @ThePageNg