Nostalgia is cheap, but it gets us every damn time.
Nokia’s reboot of the classic 3310 sent people in an unprecedented fervour when it debuted at Mobile World Congress on the weekend. Turns out people want durable dumbphones that’ll last longer than a year. Even if they don’t offer much except for Snake.
The bad news though is that it might not even work: The Nokia 3310 relies on 2.5G connectivity, which requires 2G networks.
Depending on where you live, your local 2G network may be decommissioned at some point in the future, or already has been. Australia’s phasing it out as we speak, with Telstra having decommissioned its 2G network in 2016 and Optus’ switch-off set for April 2017.
Vodafone will begin to decommission its 2G service in September, but we’re yet to hear back if it’ll be offering the 3310. Naturally, Telstra will not be stocking the phone.
If you’re living in Singapore, M1, Singtel and StarHub will cease their 2G service by April. Switzerland’s Swisscom is aiming to shut off 2G in 2020, to help it upgrade to future network technologies. In the U.S., AT&T stopped supporting 2G at the end of 2016.
So, who’s the 3310 for? Well, the phone’s low price of 49 Euros ($52) makes it appear that it’ll be targeted at developing markets.
But let’s face it, rebooting the 3310 moniker is perhaps a clever marketing tactic for the new owners of Nokia, HMD. If you hadn’t noticed (and fair enough), Nokia also released three fairly meh Android smartphones. What better way to get attention for the brand by pulling at those nostalgic consumer heartstrings?
By reusing the 3310’s name and borrowing elements of the old phone’s design, it’s no wonder we can’t help but get misty-eyed about the whole endeavour.
Camera companies have been banking on nostalgia for some time, coming up with retro-styled digital cameras that make us gush. Or in the case of gaming, the oft-sold out NES Classic. At least these are products that are still functional wherever you go, though.
In the case of the rebooted Nokia 3310, you might just have to move nations to live out your teenage mobile phone dreams.