After the release of Nokia 3310 17 years ago, Nigeria’s singer 9ice some years after released an album in which one of the tracks is entitled “3310.”
The message of his “3310” was actually to show how resilience, strong, bold, and rugged he’s: “I am strong and bold,…I am rough and though…I am 3310 x3 Ojabokofooo I am 9ice…”
“Ojabokofooo” can simply be described as a rugged; He likened his strength to Nokia 3310, a GSM mobile phone that was announced on September 1, 2000, and released in the fourth quarter of the year, replacing the popular Nokia 3210 as at then.
Once the world’s dominant phonemaker, Nokia in 2014 sold its by-then ailing handset operations to Microsoft for $7 billion, leaving it with its network equipment business and a large patent portfolio.
But in 2016, it gave the Nokia brand a fresh start by licensing its devices brand to HMD Global, a new company led by ex-Nokia executives and backed by Chinese electronics giant Foxconn.
Industry analysts say the revived Nokia 3310 has the makings of one of the hit devices of 2017, appealing to older Nokia fans in developed markets looking for an antidote to smartphone overload, while also appealing to younger crowds in emerging markets.
The new Nokia 3310 has bigger screens with 22 hours talk time and up to one month of standby time potentially heighten the phone’s appeal as a backup for smartphone users.
Analysts hailed the 3310 launch as a smart retro gambit, but one which could overshadow the Finnish company’s re-entry into the global smartphone market.
“The love for the brand is immense. It gets a lot of affection from millions and millions of people,” Nokia chief executive Rajeev Suri told a news conference at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the telecom industry’s largest annual trade fair.
“HMD owns a retro hit and is surfing on the ‘vintage’ hype to re-create buzz around the Nokia brand,” said Thomas Husson, consumer devices analyst at Forrester Research.
Old Nokia 3310 sold 126 million phones
The original 3310 sold 126 million phones, the 12th best-selling phone model in history. Nine of the top 12 selling models were produced by Nokia.
It also revives the one-time hit time waster game Snake featured on the original phone, the “Angry Birds” of its day. In a modern twist, fans can now play Snake in Facebook Messenger.
HMD also announced three smartphones that run on Google’s Android platform: The Nokia 6 smartphone with a 5.5-inch screen, the Nokia 5 with a 5.2-inch screen and the Nokia 3 with a 5.0-inch screen.
It also offered a limited edition of the Nokia 6 with added features retailing for around €299.
HMD appears to be in two minds as to how to market the 3310, believing on the one hand it has a blockbuster product revival, while possibly drowning out Nokia’s future-focused smartphone strategy.
“Our focus and future is in Android smart phones,” HMD chief executive Arto Nummela said in an interview with Reuters – while refusing to rule out dipping into Nokia’s back catalogue of popular feature phones.
Under its licensing deal, HMD has sole use of the Nokia brand on all phones and tablets for the next decade. It will pay Nokia royalties for the brand and patents, but Nokia has no direct investment in HMD.