Everyone loves a good comeback. Whether it is the return of vinyl records, mohawks coming back into fashion or George Foreman rolling back the years to become heavyweight boxing champion at the age of 45, history does tend to repeat itself. It should perhaps not have come as too much of a surprise, then, when rumours started to surface earlier this week about a revival for the iconic Nokia 3310. But in a rapidly-evolving world of ever-improving Android devices and iPhones, is this a blast from the past that was really needed and will there really be a demand for the 3310?
What was so iconic about the Nokia 3310?
For the younger generation of mobile users, this phone may be thought of as an ancient artefact, like some sort of primitive tool used by cavemen before the discovery of fire. But for others it will be remembered as a device that defined the early era of mobile phones and was considered a must-have accessory.
Back in the early 2000s, it felt impossible to go to a pub or travel by train without seeing someone using a 3310, most probably trying to beat their own high score on Snake II. Even if you happened to forget about the device and leave it in a drawer for a couple of months, the battery never seemed to run out, while it could be treated like a cricket ball and smashed around without ever breaking. To say it was built quite sturdily would be to say Donald Trump’s hair is quite strange.
Who would want one now?
Fans of the Nokia 3310 may have kept hold of the device for years before eventually relenting and starting to use a smartphone, opening up a world where it is possible to do just about anything as long as you have your mobile in your pocket. Aside from the nostalgia factor and the chance to get an easy laugh out of your mates for having an old phone, there may be other reasons why the revival could prove to be a masterstroke.
It is a resilient, reliable phone, and the long battery life could be a particular selling point. Whereas many smartphone users find that they need to carry a charger around at all times otherwise their handset might not make it through the afternoon, the Nokia 3310 could easily stay on two bars during a busy day of talking and texting. It may be basic, but that could work in its favour for some potential users. Most of us could think of an older relative who would not know where to start with an iPhone or Android, but who should have no problems with this device.
The new model is set to go on sale for just €59, and will be pitched as the perfect second phone – the type you could take to a festival so there would be no need to worry about losing or damaging your smartphone.
When will the Nokia 3310 launch and will it be a success?
The device’s relaunch is set to be confirmed at the Mobile World Congress later in February, according to reports, and then it should not be much longer before the handsets are back on the market.
It is certainly a phone that held a special place in a lot of people’s hearts and could make a decent comeback in the short term, fuelled by nostalgia and publicity. However, in the long run it may turn out to be a backward step doomed to failure, as the ability to be innovative and push mobile technology onwards is undoubtedly the most important ingredient for success.