The classic mobile has been relaunched as a distraction-free device. We dug out a device from 2000 to see how it rates in 2017
Last week saw the launch of Nokia’s new incarnation of its classic 3310 mobile phone. The original, which first appeared 17 years ago, was immensely popular – 100m handsets sold – and there is an obvious nostalgic appeal in a cheap retro copy, complete with an updated version of the game Snake. Reviews suggest the £49.99 3310 would make the perfect “festival phone” – meaning, I guess, that if you dropped it into a lake of mud at 3am, you wouldn’t mind too much.
The interest in the 3310 also feels a bit like longing: a wish to return to a simpler time, when a phone was just a phone, when batteries never ran out, and the world – emails, the news, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, every song ever recorded – didn’t come with you when you went somewhere. Back then, if you sat staring at your phone screen on a Tube platform, people thought you were a simpleton; there was nothing to look at. I do not consider myself to be terribly technology-dependent – the most transformative aspect of my smartphone is the fact that wherever I go, I always have a torch with me – but who wouldn’t want to return to that time, if only for a visit? I certainly would. Count me in.