Who knew stringing four numbers together and slapping it on a feature phone could evoke such a strong consumer reaction in 2017? Ever since HMD Global won MWC by announcing the new Nokia 3310, millennials have been frothing at the mouth in anticipation. The hype is somewhat understandable. For many people, the original Nokia 3310 would've been a totem representing their first taste of freedom. An unsupervised connection to friends; a plaything for idle hands. Many things have changed in 17 years, of course.
Textspeak -- a new dialect borne of the need for character conservation -- is but a long-forgotten dream. And for the most part, so is several-day battery life and the expectation your phone might survive a minor tumble. Revisiting the Nokia 3310 so many years later brings these memories rushing back, and plenty of other benefits, too. The cute little candy bar has an actual operating system (Nokia Series 30+), for one. It boasts basic internet connectivity, a color screen, a few apps and even a 2-megapixel camera.
But HMD Global is hoping you won't notice the new 3310 is little more than an insanely clever marketing ploy. It's just like any other Nokia feature phone, but wrapped in a colorful shell that looks vaguely familiar to the chunky 3310 of yesteryear. What it's gained in smarts, it's lost in charm. And nostalgia is hard to conjure when the new generation lacks several characteristics that made the 3310 one of the most popular phones of its time. What's happened to poor old Snake?