It was a ubiquitous gadget more than a decade ago and served as most people’s first cell phone. In a blast from the past, the Nokia 3310, one of the earliest commercial cell phones and known for its indestructible qualities, will soon be available to purchase again.
Classic Cell Phone
The original Nokia 3310 debuted in 2000 and was popular with teenagers and early cell phone users throughout the 2000s, with more than 126 million in production before it was phased out in 2005. Compared with today’s technology, the phone was incredibly basic. It featured a black and white screen and didn’t have 3G, but it was also nearly impossible to break.
The new Nokia 3310 was unveiled at the Mobile World Congress last week. The phone is made by HMD Global, which licensed the Nokia brand last year, and will feature an updated version of the phone with much of its original charm.
“This is what consumers have been asking us for, and so we decided that we’d just do it and have some fun with it, said Florian Seiche, president of HMD.
The new phone will have a slightly larger screen than original and will be in color. The phone is about half as thick as the old phone but still promises to be as durable as the original. It will also have a camera that wasn’t originally featured.
The software, however, functions much like the original. Billed as a “feature phone” instead of a smartphone, the 3310 uses 2.5G connectivity to power basic, slower, internet features and a limited number of apps. The new phone will cost around £42, compared to the original price tag of £129.99.
Lest phone users think the new Nokia 3310 is simply a re-hash of the past, there are also some very innovative new features, including a month of standby time. The phone also features 10 times the talk time (22 hours) of the original and is charged with a microUSB, much smaller than the original Nokia charger.
And don’t worry, the iconic game of Snake will be back in a color-screen version that comes pre-loaded on the phone.
Why the Comeback?
There’s already talk from cynics that the re-released Nokia 3310 is simply a marketing ploy. However, some industry experts are more optimistic and view it as a new way to tap into an existing market. More than 20 million phones are sold in the UK every year, and at least one million of them are similar to the original 3310. There’s clearly a market for a re-launch; the question remains on if people will actually buy the product.
“There is a segment of the population that just wants a basic phone,” says Ben Wood of CCS Insight. “From the stereotype of builder that just wants to call and text and if it gets broken it doesn’t matter, to the festival phone and the backup phone.”
There are a number of reasons customers might be looking for something like the 3310: to stick to a budget, be less connected than with a smartphone, or just tap into nostalgia. A large number of customers are also predicted to buy the phone as a backup or to use when they want to take a break from technology and only access basic phone features.
In a world dominated by smartphone giants and the latest and hottest technology, the vintage Nokia 3310 is making waves with its simple design and basic features that get the job done without much flash or drama. Many people believe the 3310 could be a good way for Nokia to relaunch its phone brand, which has struggled to compete with smartphone giants like Samsung and Apple in recent years.
The comeback of the classic Nokia 3310 could disrupt the modern cell phone space and show that potentially customers actually want less connectivity and fewer features.