Tech Gets Back To Basics With The Return Of The Nokia 3310

This week saw the return of the classic Nokia 3310 to the UK’s high streets 17 years after it was first launched – albeit in a slightly different form.

The original 3310’s bumper battery remains, making this one of the most highly charged mobile launches of the year – and keeping the phone worlds apart from more modern handsets that run out of battery in less than a day. The new device will offer users 22 hours of talk time, while the phone should last up to a month on standby before it needs charging again.

Thankfully the 84 x 84 pixel monochrome screen has been switched out for a more high-tech 240 x 320 pixel colour screen, while the overall design of the phone has been given an update too. The new handset is almost half its original weight and now boasts a four-way directional pad as opposed to the traditional up/down keys.

Nokia have made some headway into the smartphone market in recent years. The most notable series was the Lumia, which was introduced in 2011 as part of a partnership between Nokia and Microsoft (although this range is now designed and marketed by Microsoft Mobile).

However, these forays into the smartphone market never lived up to either the earlier fame of the 3310 nor the market dominance seen by the likes of Apple and Samsung, which might help explain why Nokia are giving the limelight back to their most widely celebrated device to date.

Nokia aren’t the only manufacturer feeling sentimental, as the trend for nostalgia can be seen across the mobile sphere as a whole. BlackBerry moved away from its traditional QWERTY keyboard some time ago, introducing handsets like the BlackBerry Leap and Priv with either no keyboard whatsoever or a hidden keyboard. More recently, however, it has managed to set itself apart from the rest of the mobile market by fully embracing the keypad for its comeback handset, the BlackBerry KEYone.

When the Nokia 3310 first launched in 2000, the mobile market was a remarkably different space. The phrase ‘smartphone’ meant nothing and touch screen handsets sounded like something from a sci-fi film. Let’s take a look back at the winners and losers of mobile innovation.

The tech we’ll never forget…

Flip phones
These sturdy devices were near impossible to break. Back in the mid noughties when flip phones first surfaced in the mass market, smashed screens were a rarity, yet today you’d be hard stretched to find someone that hasn’t dealt with some sort of damage to their phone. In fact, a 2015 survey by Motorola revealed that 50% of people globally have experienced cracked phone screen, with 23% of users continuing to use their phone despite cutting their finger on the broken screen. Ouch.

Monotonic and polyphonic ring tones
This one we’ll never forget – but for all the wrong reasons. In years gone by, you could find smug mobile users scrolling through their collection of ringtones, playing them loud and proud for all to hear. Thankfully, personalised ringtones have faded out of fashion, with many mobile users preferring to stick to their manufacturer’s standard jingle.

In a pre-meme world, getting creative with your mobile was a little bit more tough. ASCII art involved using ASCII text characters to create an image, and if you ever spent hours working on such a masterpiece on your phone, you’ll know this took a good deal longer than simply adding a silly caption to a photograph.

While many are still reeling from last year’s surprise success of Pokémon GO, the mobile game that will truly go down in history is without a doubt Snake. Proof, if any were needed, that sometimes the simplest ideas are the best.

…And the features we don’t quite get

Flexible phones
In 2013, Samsung introduced the Galaxy Round, the first commercially produced smartphone to feature a flexible AMOLED display. While this certainly sounds like an exciting claim, there’s no real obvious benefit to this technology. Nevertheless, manufacturers including LG and Lenovo have followed suit, introducing their own flexi-phones throughout the last couple of years.

Squeezable phones
Earlier this month HTC unveiled its latest handset, the HTC U11. The phone’s standout feature is the ‘Edge Sense’ technology it comes with, allowing users to complete a range of different tasks by squeezing the phone. Interesting? Sure. Practical? Not so much.

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