Can a throwback phone revive Nokia?

The company that owns the licensing rights for Nokia phones may be digging back to the future to revive the diminished brand.

Finnish manufacturer HMD Global is planning to launch a modern Android version of a throwback device, the once popular Nokia 3310 that predated the smartphone era. That's according to VentureBeat writer Evan Blass, who cited an unnamed person briefed on the company’s plans. He says the new 3310 will cost 59 euros ($62.37) and be targeted at European customers. Plans to distribute the phone elsewhere are unknown.

An HMD representative wouldn’t comment on the rumors. But the company is hosting a press conference Feb. 26 at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, and nostalgia seems to be the order of the day; in RSVP-ing for the event, I was asked to list my past favorite Nokia phone.

The 3310 just might be a candidate.

To jog your memory, the original device was unveiled Sept. 1, 2000, at a “Don’t be bored, be totally board” lifestyle event in Oberhausen, Germany, and at concerts throughout the Asia Pacific region. Nokia plugged the phone’s “unique chat function,” which allowed “users to chat with text messages on their phones while on the move.”

Imagine that?

The 3310 weighed 133 grams (about 4.69 ounces) and gained a reputation as being indestructible. It included new games, Space Impact and Bantumi, along with the immensely popular Snake II. Nokia said talk time via the standard NiMH battery on the GSM phone was 4 and ½ hours.

Nokia, of course, was the dominant cellphone maker back then, a position it held for years, before eventually relinquishing the throne to Apple and Samsung

You know the rest: Microsoft ended up buying Nokia’s line of mobile phones for $7.2 billion in 2014 only to dump the failed business a couple of years later.

This past December, HMD became the new global home for Nokia phones.

Apart from the 3310, Blass expects HMD to launch three other Nokia branded phones during MWC. We’ll see if nostalgia pays off.

Email: ebaig@usatoday.com; Follow USA TODAY Personal Tech Columnist @edbaig on Twitter.

USA TODAY


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