Nokia’s Classic 3310 Phone Lives Again – And It Has ‘Snake’ Too
For years Nokia struggled to make a smartphone that captured the world’s imagination. On Sunday the answer finally came from an old classic.
The Nokia 3310 feature phone, first released 17 years ago and a first-time mobile phone for millions of people around the world, is coming back to the market a little shinier and just as robust as before.
It’s got the same pebble-like buttons for a keyboard, that same rounded brick shape, 31 days of battery life on standby (that’s right, 31 “days,” not hours) and an upgrade on Snake, the classic low-pixel mobile game that got the pulse racing while you listened to songs on your CD player.
It has 2.5G connectivity – slower than 3G or 4G – and runs on the S30 operating system, a lightweight platform that has a small range of apps including a slimmed down version of the Opera web browser.
The phone also has 22 hours of talk time, a 2 megapixel camera and will cost 49 euros (around $50). Oh, and it’s got the old Nokia ringtone too.
With its monochrome display and thick, matt plastic shell, the 3310 became well-loved for its toughness, having survived numerous extreme-durability tests on YouTube, including being dropped from 900 feet onto concrete.
One British man was recently profiled for continuing to use his 3310 for the entire 17 years since its launch, saying he had “dropped it on numerous occasions, on the floor, in curry sauce, and it’s been through the washing machine.”
One major reason why the 3310 ended up being so durable was simply timing. The phone was released at a point when consumers weren’t demanding phones that were as small or as thin as possible, and also when the electronic wiring on the circuitboards inside phones weren’t anywhere near as dense as they are today.
Though the new 3310 is a “Nokia phone” for all intents and purposes, it’s manufactured by HMD Global. The company is based down the road from Nokia’s headquarters in Espoo, Finland and it bought the design and marketing rights to Nokia phones in May 2016.
Nokia has largely got out of the business of making phones, and is now focused on making the switching and networking equipment used by mobile networks like Vodafone and T-Mobile.
It kicked off those ambitions in 2015 with its $16.5 billion purchase of Alcatel-Lucent, and continued them in February 2017 when it bought Comptel (another Finnish firm) for $370 million. The latest acquisition should help Nokia boost its expertise in selling the cloud-based software that telcos use to manage and analyze their networks.
HMD noted from early on in its partnership with Nokia that the company’s simple “feature phones” like the 3310 were still among “the most popular choices of mobile phone in many markets around the world today,” adding that it would continue to manufacture the old classics along with some new hits.
Which reminds us: HMD also released three Android smartphones under the Nokia brandname on Sunday, ahead of the start of the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, though to a little less fanfare.
They were the advanced, Nokia 6 Android smartphone which had already debuted last January in China, costing 230 euros ($243), and the cheaper Nokia 5 and Nokia 3 costing 180 euros ($190) and 140 euros ($148) respectively.