Arto Numella, the CEO of HMD Global, was quite animated while announcing the Nokia 3310. Sure, he tried pulling off a Steve Jobs by keeping the 3310 announcement for the last, and also used the words “And one more thing,” but that’s a sin that we are willing to overlook just because of one thing. He was talking about the 3310.
Now at this point, what with the build-up towards the 2017 Mobile World Congress (MWC), even those who were living under the proverbial rocks know what a great device the original Nokia 3310 was. It was one of the most durable devices to be ever made, and also one of the most popular. Even the generation that had never held a Nokia 3310 in its palms, knows about this device thanks to the Internet. And oh, the memes! The memes made around the Nokia 3310 as probably as legendary as the device itself. Which other device in the history of the tech industry has been accredited with breaking Chuck Norris’s arm, or being found at bedrock, or being capable of surviving the apocalypse?
So as tech aficionados, we could hardly contain our glee when the Nokia 3310 was being announced. Not because Snake makes a comeback, and the simplicity of things that Nokia 3310 brought with it in the larger scheme of things. But simply because many of us grew up in an era where the 3310 was our first device and the name brings with it a lot of nostalgia.
We looked at the announcement, and we immediately declared – “We’re going to get this.”
We then looked at the specifications. And cringed a little. This wasn’t the Nokia 3310 comeback that we expected. The Nokia 3310 was supposed to be an amalgamation of its legacy with the present day consumer demand.
So what does the new Nokia 3310 carry forward in terms of heritage value? The name? Yes. That. Apart from that, Nokia HMD Global was quick to announce that the new 3310 will have a very good battery life.
The Nokia 3310 packs in just a 1200mAh battery, but it is important to remember that the 3310 is not a smartphone with complex processors, displays, memory units and other such things working in tandem. It’s a simple feature phone, and with this removable (yay!) battery unit, it claims to deliver a talktime of up to 22 hours. That’s nearly a day. We cannot think of anyone who would like to talk to us for nearly a day, but it’s a good thing nonetheless. Moreover, the new Nokia 3310 claims to have a standby time of up to 31 days. Let’s put that into perspective. Say, on the first of the month you charge your phone fully and forget about it on your table. Then, on any given day in the same month, if you pick the device up, you’re still going to have ample charge to at least make a few phone calls. The original Nokia 3310 was also known for this kind of battery life. We are glad that Nokia HMD Global at least makes similar claims.
The Nokia 3310 brings back with it Snake, one of the most addictive games to have ever featured on mobile devices. We remember breaking up with girlfriends because they complained about us being too involved with a digital reptile that only kept on growing. Friendships were at stake because of disputes on high scores. It’s another revival story, probably as great as a Pink Floyd, AC/DC or Queen reunion. But let’s face it, the Nokia 150 actually quietly brought back Snake Xenxia and nobody made a hullaballoo about it.
Is it modern?
The Nokia 3310 is a blast from the past, but is it as modern as a mix tape is in the era of Spotify? Sadly, it might just be the case because there’s one gaping loophole in the new 3310’s specification list.
You see, Nokia definitely wants the new 3310 to be the next paradigm shift in modern telephony. However, the next paradigm shift in modern telephony, at least in India, has already happened, and it’s something called Reliance Jio. It is the next step in the communication and information age, what with VoLTE and dirt cheap data plans. Internet is where the country is headed towards, and the Nokia 3310 is not going to be a part of the movement because it lacks 4G connectivity. Forget 4G, it even lacks 3G connectivity.
The argument would be, “why does the Nokia 3310 need 4G when it is a basic feature phone?” Our counter argument for that is, “Why does the Nokia 3310 need all this hype and a classic brand revival when it is just another basic feature phone?”
The point that we are trying to make is that the revival of such a brand name should mean bringing modern day relevance to a classic name. Our problem is that the new Nokia 3310 is not a step towards the future. The original Nokia 3310 brought in a lot of functionality for a very small price. The Nokia 3310 is priced at 49 Euros, which is a shade less than 5000 rupees in the Indian context. Nokia’s mission with this device should have been to bring something like the convenience of apps like PayTM, Freecharge, Mobikwik and the power of 4G and VoLTE into a very affordable and reliable package called the Nokia 3310.
The camera is a basic 2 megapixel one, and we are not complaining about that. However, we are not sure about how well would popular apps such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp would work on the Series 30+ operating system that the new Nokia 3310 runs on. At a time when voice calls are rare but WhatsApp pings are abundant, the new Nokia 3310 makes little sense. It does not move forward in time. We hoped it to bring all this into one package, but the new Nokia 3310 did not.
The Nokia 3310 was also known to be extremely tough. In a present-day context, Nokia hasn’t exactly explained if the new device has the same kind of reliability. We can expect a lot of drop tests and extreme tests to be subjected upon the new Nokia 3310 as soon as it is available for everyone.
Sure, it has Snake. Sure, it has the Nokia ringtone. But that’s just about it.