They say you never forget your first one -- but what do you do when your first one comes back after 16 years?
As we previously reported, the legendary Nokia 3310 was set for a comeback. Now, it's finally here. This is one of the first mobile phones many of us have ever had -- tough as a brick, with a huge battery life, it was the favorite of many for years and years. As smartphones started taking over the market, however, Nokia couldn't really adapt and fell into one of the world's most shocking corporate declines. But now, HMD Global Oy, the Finnish manufacturer that bought the rights to market phones under the Nokia brand from Microsoft, just released its new version of the 3310.
It's not going to blow your mind, but it's definitely a neat remake of a blast from the past.
HMD Global Oy went big with this and improved on what were some already remarkable feats. The new Nokia phone comes with a standby time of one month, which is absolutely stunning. It's also reportedly twice as sturdy as the old version, which, as teens from the 2000s can testify, was already impressive. Unlike the old Nokia, it's charged via MicroUSB so there's no need to dig for that old Nokia charger, and there’s even a headphones socket in the bottom.
Cynics will say this is just a marketing stunt, milking some nostalgia in a world that's long since moved on. But I think it's more than this. There's still a segment of the population that wants a basic phone, whether it's your first phone or your secondary phone -- the one you use for work, festivals, or traveling, when you just need a good sturdy phone with a long battery life. CCS Insight’s Ben Wood says that people are still buying phones with basic features, at least some of them.
Furthermore, I think it's intriguing that a phone which shipped 16 years ago can make such big waves. The past couple of years have seen improvements in the quality of smartphones, but true innovation has mostly been lacking -- unless you count making bigger phones and removing headphones as innovation. It's telling that a remake of a 16-year-old phone can be touted as one of the year's biggest innovations in smartphones. Wood said:
“The 3310 is poised to be the biggest story of Mobile World Congress this year, where we’re surrounded by the most cutting edge technology available on the planet. Where phones have artificial intelligence in them, 4K screens that most people don’t even have on their TV at home, cameras that are more powerful than we’ve seen. And we’re all getting excited about a 17-year-old feature phone.”
Whether or not this approach will yield the expected sales remains to be seen. I don't expect it to ever become a staple as it once did, but there's a chance that the Nokia 3310 will have its place in our pockets -- as well as in our hearts.