Written by Ed Crawford
The Nokia 3310, one of the most iconic and beloved mobile phones ever made, is due to be ‘reborn’ at the end of the month. Renowned for its incredible battery life and near indestructibility, the handset is bound to be a sure-fire success with modern consumers who appear increasingly unrelenting in their appetite for nostalgia.
In a press release made ahead of the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona on February 26th, Nokia’s exclusive rights holder HMD Global (who acquired the rights from Microsoft at the end of last year) hinted at “the next exciting chapter of the Nokia consumer story”. This was followed by a brand insider revealing the announcement pertained to the release of 4 new handsets, including a revamped version of the the hugely successful Nokia 3310.
Originally released at the turn of the century, the 3310 went on to sell a whopping 126 million units before it was retired in 2005. Precisely how close to the original the new handset will be is unclear, but current reports suggest that it will retail at €59, significantly less that the original £129 pricetag from 2000. Advances in technology in the intervening 17 years mean that this still doesn’t tell us much, but chances are you’ll see plenty of hipsters hunched over a game of Snake II in the near future.
Why would it be a good idea for Nokia to remain true to their roots and go vintage with the re-release, rather than stuff an advanced Android OS into the classic body?
Modern consumers are obsessed with nostalgia. Whether they’re soaking up a poorly disguised Star Wars remake or pining for vintage arcade games, more than ever people are looking back at ‘the good old days’ with rose-tinted glasses. Just look at South Park, social commentator par excellence, and their ‘member berries’ skit for proof of the trend.
By playing to this powerful desire to delve into memory tapes, Nokia is almost guaranteeing success for a cheap, easy to produce product that wouldn’t stand a chance against its high-tech competitors under normal circumstances. Brands that have the ability to keep their finger on the pulse, looking forward by looking back, are sure to have a headstart in a sector so dominated by a few powerful players.
(Credit all images: HMD Global)