Nokia 3310 to be relaunched in spring

simon chandler
By Simon Chandler

mobile phones old

THE iconic Nokia 3310 will be relaunched in the "second quarter" of the year, as a "dumb" feature phone offering up to a month of battery life.

The phone - which sold 126 million units between 2000 and 2005 - will be resuscitated by Finnish tech firm HMD Global, who now own the rights to the once dominant Nokia brand.

While they've redesigned the phone from the ground up, they've retained its general look and functionality, even going so far as to package it with the popular game Snake that became all-but synonymous with it.

And with its uncomplicated minimalism and impressively long battery life, it looks set to become an alternative for all those people who either can't afford a smartphone or want to escape the expanding reach of the internet every once in a while.

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As for that battery life, it will enable people to leave it on standby for a whole month without having to put it anywhere near a charger.

And even if they'd prefer to use it to actually speak to another human being, it will still grant 22 hours of continuous talk time, in contrast to, say, the iPhone 7, which provides almost 12 hours of constant talk time before needing a recharge (that said, the HTC 10 can last for 30 hours).

This makes it an ideal "backup phone", which people can keep in their backpacks or handbags while travelling just in case their usual phone dies as a result of too much video or music streaming.

That it's viable as an emergency handset is underlined by its unsurprisingly low price, which comes in at €49, or about £41.

It's also underlined by how it uses micro-SIM cards, enabling people with an iPhone or Samsung to simply switch their usual card over to the cheaper device whenever they feel the need.

Given this, it's clear that, as well as simply marketing it to people who don't want to pay for a contract-subsidised Galaxy S7 from EE, Vodafone or Three, HMD Global are banking on there being enough "smartphone fatigue" going around for the revamped phone to appeal.

Indeed, their CEO, Arto Nummela, said just as much, explaining, "It's almost like a digital detox or holiday phone ... If you want to switch off to an extent but you still need to have a [phone] lifeline, it's a brilliant solution".

Limitations

Of course, it has to be said that, for those who want superfast 4G or unlimited mobile data, the reborn 3310 won't prove especially exciting.

It is capable of a basic 2.5G internet connection, and it does feature a scaled-down Opera browser, yet other than that it won't be offering anywhere near the range of apps provided by state-of-the-art phones.

It also won't be enabling high-definition photos, since its camera is limited to only two megapixels (two million pixels), some 61 short of the megapixels available on the iPhone 7.

Nostalgia

Still, it has one thing that iPhones, Samsungs and HTCs don't have, which is a high nostalgia factor.

This comes not only from its modernised yet largely faithful redesign, but also from its inclusion of Snake, the rudimentary video game that requires players to feed an ever-growing snake while preventing the reptile from colliding with itself.

Along with its durability and minimalism, this invoking of the past may very well win over a few converts, even if it could be argued that there are better things to be nostalgic about than a mobile phone.

And even if nostalgia isn't enough, the new 3310 will still remain an incredibly cheap phone, putting even mid-range and budget smartphones to shame.

It's therefore a welcome addition to the mobile market, one that will hopefully last for longer than the five years of its namesake.