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Remember The Nokia 3310 Phone? It’s Back – And It Has Snake

If you had a cell phone in the early 2000s, there’s a very good chance it was a Nokia 3310. If you owned one you undoubtedly loved it, and you probably still have fond memories of the phone that had groundbreaking features and seemingly couldn’t be destroyed.

Nokia has brought the cult favorite back to life. The 3310 has been re-imagined as a smartphone with 2017 functionality while retaining much of its 2000 feel. It’s due for release this spring.

3310-phone DesignBlock

History of the Nokia 3310

Nokia has been in existence in one form or another for more than 150 years, starting out as a company running paper mills and at times focusing on businesses as different as electricity generation, rubber products, electronic equipment and computers. It also built mobile radios in the mid-1900s, and released some of the world’s first transportable phones in the 1980s. Nokia decided to focus on telecommunications in the ‘90s and became the largest manufacturer of mobile phones in the world, a title it held until about five years ago.

The company’s most successful product ever, though, was the Nokia 3310 phone that was first released in the year 2000. It had a number of functions that were quite unusual to see on a cell phone including a stopwatch, a calendar reminder and a calculator. It was light and sleekly-designed for its day and had extremely long battery life.

But the phone became beloved for three reasons: its advanced SMS capabilities, its incredible durability (you can still find YouTube videos of people unable to break 3310s with tools like sledgehammers and hydraulic presses) and its ridiculously addictive game, Snake II.
Mobile game Snake

The Nokia 3310 was one of the most popular phones ever, particularly in Europe, with 126 million sold in its three-year heyday. The company eventually specialized in producing Windows phones and was sold to Microsoft in 2013 for $7.2 billion. The deal was a disaster, and Microsoft sold the Nokia name and assets just two years later for just $350 million.

Welcome Back, Nokia 3310

The Hong Kong company that now holds the right to Nokia, HMD Global, is making a splash with one of its first products: the return of the Nokia 3310. It’s a modern smartphone running the Nokia Series 30+ OS, and while it’s a decent product, its real appeal is its resemblance to the original iconic 3310.

The new model isn’t a carbon copy; it’s lighter, slimmer and has a sleeker design. It’s also made primarily from plastic, so a taking a sledgehammer to it wouldn’t be a good idea. But its shape and layout are definitely reminiscent of the 2000 version, and you will still be able to buy it in the traditional grey or blue colors (red and yellow will also be available).

The 3310 update has a bright but not-too-crisp 2.4 inch display (yes, it’s full color and not black and white) and most of the features you need on a phone – but not the features you’ve likely become accustomed to on your current smartphone. It does have a USB microport and a 3.5MM audio connector so you can play music, but it’s only compatible with 2.5G with no WiFi, just Bluetooth connectivity. The web browser is adequate but not great (probably not a huge issue since you can’t use 3G, 4G or WiFi), the camera is only 2MP and there’s just 16 megs on onboard storage (with a microSD slot, thankfully).
Nokia-3310-BeautyShotAll images credits: https://www.nokia.com/en_int/phones/nokia-3310

But we’ve saved the best for last: Snake is back! Actually, it’s an updated version called Snake Xenzia with lots of levels and maps, although you can also play it in the familiar classic mode and switch from the modern navigation mode to the old-school 2-4-6-8 key controls. Even though it’s in color and the graphics are better, it brings back great memories and is just as addictive.

The new Nokia 3310 that will be available this spring isn’t designed to compete with iPhones, or even the smartphones the company’s recently introduced like the Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6. It’s been created to combine good (but not great) functionality with early 21st century nostalgia – and in that regard, it’s terrific.
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