Chill Out Folks - The "New" Nokia 3310 Is Probably Just Going To Be A Boring Feature Phone

By James O Malley on at

The world is inexplicably excited this week following news that the Nokia 3310 - perhaps the most iconic pre-iPhone mobile phone - is set for a return. If the rumours are to be believed, Finnish company HMD global - which currently owns the rights to the Nokia name for phones - will be making a new version of the phone, and will be announcing it at Mobile World Congress at the end of the month.

The case for why a re-released 3310 would be welcome could quite easily be made: Modern phones will last 24 hours if you're very lucky indeed - so if you're going to a festival or planning a trip to the wilderness, a phone with a battery that'll last a week is probably something that is useful to have. It'd also fairly ruggedised compared to modern phones - so could be useful if you're planning on dropping it.

But with all it has going for it (well, that exactly two things it has going for it), call me sceptical about the supposed new 3310, and the hype surrounding it.

Inevitably, the announcement will go one of two ways: Either it'll be a faithful recreation of the 3310 or it will be something new called the 3310.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

If it's the former, then, umm, so what? If there was really a market for the 3310 then surely everyone who wanted one would be buying them second hand? Ebay has tonnes available at the time of writing.

More to the point: Even if the phone is the same as the 'iconic' 3310, then if you need a phone with a long-lasting battery or one that is rugged, then there are better feature phone options available which are much less bulky. If you simply want a cheap phone, you can buy an actual Android phone for as little as £40 new. There would be no reason to buy one.

What I would put my money on though is this "new" 3310 being a different device. It will surely end up being something like the "New Routemaster" bus, which Boris Johnson spent far too much public money creating. In that case, Boris wanted a new bus design so Thomas Heatherwick came up with something that is vaguely reminiscent of the iconic London buses of old - but completely different inside, and in terms of performance. But because the politicians were able to appropriate the Routemaster name, the brand elevated what would otherwise be just some bus.

I would predict that the 3310 will be the same sort of thing. HMD will have created something that perhaps is visually reminiscent of Nokia's phone of old, but it'll be different on the inside: It'll support Micro-USB, it might have a colour screen, maybe they'll add a camera or 4G support too. Hell, it'll probably store more than 10 text messages at a time. It'll be a budget feature phone that if it lacked the special name would be instantly forgettable.

So well done HMD - great marketing. But if you're expecting something special with the supposed new 3310? Lower your expectations now.