What does the re-launch of a 17-year-old feature phone say about the state of today's smartphones? Nothing very flattering, in all likelihood. Nokia just re-launched the 3310 feature phone which was probably everyone's first ever, and the world is delighted.
At the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2017 in Barcelona, Nokia was one of the companies to kick off early. Various Nokia and HMD execs set the background with reminding everyone of the Nokia legacy, no small matter for the Finnish company that has been around for 150 years now, surviving many a hard time.
Nokia's presentation featured virtual reality, its 360 camera, and their focus on healthcare products. In fact, the health products company Withings will soon be re-branded Nokia.
Turning the focus on smartphones, Nokia launched three Android phones – the Nokia 6, Nokia 5, and Nokia 3 – and says that ‘you will sense a true Nokia soul in each of these’.
The three Android phones are going to set themselves apart from others in three ways. Firstly, a focus on "real life" design. Beyond specs and frills, these phones and others that will follow are designed with usability and the human factor in mind. Bright displays with sunlight readability are a must. Secondly, the Nokia phones will be priced affordably giving premium design which the company feels should not be restricted to flagships that are launched once a year. The phones are simple and contoured to feel comfortable. Finally, there will be a unique take on Android that will take in monthly updates and quick platform upgrades to keep the phones 'pure, secure, and up to date'. The idea is to avoid betraying the trust people still have in the brand.
Of the three Android phones, the Nokia 6 has already been launched and tested out in China, the world's fiercest smartphone market. The first lot was sold out in 23 seconds. Amazingly, 74 percent of the devices were bought by people who were young and had never before owned a Nokia phone.
But a phone that may well be the show stopper at MWC is the reboot of the old 3310 that an Indian user described as being "like a big hug from grandmother.” So great is the nostalgia for this feature phone, possibly the first mobile phone for many, that the company took care to leave in the familiar signature ringtone and the game Snake.
The 3310's rounded form is still much the same except for finessing and fine-tuning to modernise it just a little. The re-imagined 3310 is meant to be right for 2017, even though it's still a feature phone and can just about make it to Facebook or Twitter. It has the old familiar keys, a 2.4-inch screen that's now in colour, and most of all, a month's standby battery life with 22 hours of talk time.
Here's how Nokia describes the 3310
- Beautiful push buttons and iconic, shaped design
- 2MP camera with LED flash for simple snaps
- Headphone jack for your tunes
- 4” curved window with polarised layer for better readability in sunlight
- Available in both single SIM and dual SIM variants
- 2G connectivity for calling and texting
- All-new UI with nods to the original
- Awesome battery life, with up to 22 hours talk time
- FM radio and MP3 player for music
- 16MB storage3 plus a MicroSD card slot with support up to 32GB
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)