MARCH 4, 2017 — Before there were smartphones of any kind, there was a brick-like device marketed under the Nokia brand. In those halcyon days of the early 2000s, Nokia was a sturdy device whose form perfectly matched its function.
Though you couldn’t access the internet with it, play games more complicated than “Snake” or ask a disembodied female voice for driving directions, it more than fulfilled its primary mission: making and receiving phone calls.
Then along came the smartphone in the middle of the last decade and it changed history. Within a few business cycles, Nokia, which had been the world’s No. 1 phone, and many of its competitors failed to keep up with the smartphone revolution and fell out of fashion.
In recent years as nostalgia for less complicated mobile devices took hold, the so-called “dumb phones” have enjoyed an uptick in popularity.
Leading the pack of dumb phone reboots is the updated Nokia 3310 introduced last month at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona. With a battery life of a month when switched to standby, it’s far more colorful than its predecessors. It can access the internet, but because it is tied to 2G mobile networks, it does so slowly. Its primary function is to be an efficiently working phone.
Now HMD Global has the rights to make the Finnish company’s phones after purchasing it from Microsoft for $350 million. HMD plans to roll out smartphones, tablets and Android-powered phones with the Nokia label, too. Times are a-changin, but at least those inclined toward old-school phones can engage their nostalgia with a working phone, too.