Iconic 2000s phone the Nokia 3310 is to be given a new lease on life according to an announcement about its re-release made ahead of Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress at the beginning of March 2017. The phone is marketed as a backup for “nostalgic” smartphone aficionados and will have a sleeker, more contemporary design, whilst retaining all of the swagger of the original unit. It will be produced by Finnish start-up HMD-Global.
The 2000s was hardly a decade lauded for its style. Often cited as one of the worst moments in history in terms of taste, this decade was defined by the nouveau-riche stylings of socialites such as Paris Hilton, the bare midriffs of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, and N-Sync’s ill-advised frosted tips. However, in many ways the first decade of the 21st century was at the vanguard of a technological revolution, and nowhere was this more apparent than in mobile phone technology. This was a seminal point in the transition of cell phone development, with the changed marked by infinitely smaller handsets which had wider-ranging functions beyond just calling and messaging, paving the way for the smartphones of the future.
Perhaps the most iconic of these telephone was the Nokia 3310. The phone was first released in 2000 and went on to become one of the best selling phones at the time, with a reported 126 million handsets sold worldwide. Noted for its compact, robust design and popular features such as a calculator, different ring tones, and the game “Snake,” the 3310 really stood out.
The 2017 version of the 3310 will have a set of upgraded features, like a basic web browser, FM radio, color screen, torch, two megapixel camera, 16MB storage with MicroSD card, and of course, Snake. It will be available in four colors: black, red, yellow, and navy-grey.
The revamped handset also boasts 22 hours of talk time and a month’s standby; good news for aggrieved smartphone users who often lament the short battery life of digital phones. However, the phone has received some early criticisms, not least for the fact that in this age of speed of communication, the phone runs on 2.5G technology, when most smartphones run on 3G or 4G. This means that the online functionality is significantly slower and that it will be unable to release in some markets, namely the Americas and some Asia Pacific countries, where the 900 Mhz and 1800 Mhz bandwidth that 2.5G uses has been switched off. The phone is set to retail at about $50, but as of yet, no official release date has been given.
The re-release of this 2000s gem is in line with a resurgence of re-launches of retro products. In 2016, Nike released its iconic Nike Mag shoe from the 1989 film Back to the Future II. Fujifilm released an instant camera after the closure of Polaroid. Sales of vinyl records have reached unprecedented highs over the past number of years. Fashion is known for constantly repeating itself, so perhaps it was only a matter of time before mobile phones too were the target of commercial nostalgia.