Long before Apple and Samsung came out with iPhones and Galaxy smartphones, Nokia dominated the business with its formidable catalog of dumbphones or, less pejoratively, feature phones. Of course, back then they were simply called mobile phones. And one of the most beloved, even revered, among them was the Nokia 3310 — which, rumor has it, is set to make a comeback.
New and old
As reported by the noted phone leaker Evan “@evleaks” Blass at VentureBeat, HMD Global, the Finnish company with the sole license to use the Nokia brand, is planning to announce four Nokia-branded handsets on Feb. 26 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
The handsets include the Nokia 6, Nokia 5, and Nokia 3, which are midrange smartphones that run on Android 7 Nougat. The remaining one promises to be the most interesting, though, as it’s said to be a relaunch of the 16-year-old Nokia 3310.
Originally launched by Nokia on Sept. 1, 2000 as the successor to the Nokia 3210 and officially discontinued five years later, the Nokia 3310 is one of the bestselling mobile phones ever as it managed to sell 126 million units.
In the years since, the device has enjoyed something of a cult classic status. And how!
The remarkably high regard accorded to the Nokia 3310 is largely attributed to its durability and longevity, which are nothing if not legendary. Its sturdy 133-gram candy-bar construction and casing make it all but unbreakable, something that has long been the stuff of internet memes that depict the device as a paragon of strength and invincibility. Also worthy of note is its battery life, which could last up to 11 days on standby, an eternity when put in the context of today’s smartphones, many of which couldn’t even last a full day without needing a recharge.
The Nokia 3310 also came with features that were considered advanced, or at least uncommon, among mobile phones back in its day, including a calculator, a reminder function, voice dialing, and long text messaging. Oh, and it had four built-in games, namely, Pairs II, Bantumi, Space Impact, and the iconic Snake II.
It’s uncertain what the relaunch of the Nokia 3310 entails. Will it look exactly the same? Will it run on a different operating system? Will it be harder, better, faster, stronger?
What’s certain, at least to some extent, is that nostalgia sells — we saw it last year, for example, with the runaway success of Pokémon Go. And at a rumored price of €59 ($62), the “new” Nokia 3310 could become a bestseller in its own right, not only among nostalgists but also among people who want to supplement their smartphones with a famously heavy-duty and long-lasting dumbphone.
I, for one, can attest to the durability and longevity of the Nokia 3310, as I used one during the better part of my high school years. (Yes, I do realize that my age is showing.) And I can’t wait to see what the handset’s rumored reincarnation has in store. Snake II redux, anyone?