Are we in for some retro mobile phone goodness at the 2017 Mobile World Congress show? A few days ago, an unconfirmed rumor claimed that HMD Global, who has the rights to make and sell phones with the Nokia brand, will announce a new version of the classic Nokia 3310 phone at their press event in Barcelona, Spain on February 26.
If this is indeed true, it would appear that HMD is trying to ride a wave of nostalgia for the Nokia name. Remember when Nokia completely dominated the mobile phone market? That was only a few years ago. Since then, the smartphone market has overtaken the feature phone business, where Nokia was king. The Finnish company made the disastrous move to switch from its own outdated Symbian OS to Windows Phone for smartphones, instead of Android.
However, there are still a ton of folks who have fond memories of their classic Nokia phones, and they may decide to jump in to get a new version of the old 3310 phone just for old times’ sake. We think there are a few other phones that HMD might consider resurrecting to keep that Nokia nostalgia train running.
This phone, which was first released in 2007, included a number of different movable parts. You could use it as a standard phone, or you could flip up a screen so you could access apps on its Symbian-based OS with the keys. You could also swivel pieces of the phone around in order to hold it and use it like a camcorder.
Nokia had a number of phones that could “transform” into different shapes, but the Nokia N93i is a bit different in that it actually did turn into an evil Decepticon in the first live-action Transformers movie in 2007 (with the help of some Industrial Light and Magic CGI). It came complete with tiny little machine guns and a micro-rocket launcher. Wouldn’t it be great for HMD to re-release the Nokia N931, but turn it into a Transformers toy? We think so!
Many, many years ago, Nokia thought it could compete with Nintendo for a piece of the mobile gaming market. The result of their efforts was the original N-Gage. Released in 2003, the phone seemed like a natural to go up against the Game Boy Advance, at least before people got their actual hands on it.
However, it looks like Nokia’s designers didn’t quite know how to create a phone that could also work as a portable game console. In fact, in order to insert one of the phone’s small game cartridges, you had to take off the cover of the phone and remove the battery first.
Plus, if you tried to use it as a phone, well you just looked silly. The N-Gage had its microphone and speaker placed on its side, so if you held it up to you ear, it looked very much like a taco; a really ugly taco, but still a taco. In fact, photos of people who used the N-Gage as a phone caused the term “sidetalking” to be coined, and it became one of the earliest internet memes.
Nokia launched a new version of the N-Gage that got rid of its taco shape, but still didn’t solve its basic problem; it just wasn’t really designed for a good mobile gaming experience. Still, the original N-Gage remains one of the more unique looking Nokia phones ever made. We think that HMD would get a bunch of gaming fans excited at the prospect of using a new N-Gage. Who knows, maybe we can get “sidetalking” trending again.
This phone, launched in 1996, was a pretty normal looking handset for its time. Some people called it the “banana phone” due to its slightly curved shape. In 1999 it got a ton of attention when it became featured in the hit movie, The Matrix. Keanu Reeves’s Neo got one of his first introduction to the “real world” when a delivery person brought him this phone to his office cubicle. When he held it in his hand, he was startled when it began ringing and began talking to Morpheus. It was then that the audience knew for certain that we would be in for a wild movie ride.
Fun fact: The real Nokia 8110 did not have a spring-loaded slider cover, as depicted in that Matrix scene and others in that movie. It was put in by the movie’s prop masters so it would look cool. However, if HMD really wanted to, it could bring back the Nokia 8110 and thrown in that spring-loaded cover so that all of us can think we are in the Matrix. As Neo might say, “Whoa”.
Nokia 808 PureView / Nokia Lumia 1020
Released in 2012, the Nokia 808 PureView turned out to be the company’s last Symbian smartphone. However, its most notable feature is its 41.3MP PureView rear camera. Even in 2017, it still holds the record for the smartphone that has the highest resolution sensor. The camera’s PureView Pro technology used pixel oversampling so it could take a picture at its full resolution and cut it down to a lower resolution, but still keep its higher definition, along with lossless zoom.
Then in 2013, the Nokia Lumia 1020 launched with Windows Phone 8. It also used a 41.3MP sensor like the Nokia 808 PureView, but threw in some extra features such as optical image stabilization (OIS) and a higher resolution lens. Both phones were not sales successes, despite a huge effort by Nokia, Microsoft and US wireless carrier AT&T to promote the phone when it launched.
HMD could really have a huge hit if it were to bring back the 41MP sensor from these two Nokia phones and put it into one with the Android operating system, and combine it with some impressive camera software.
What do you think?
There are certainly lots of classic Nokia phones we could pick from this list that have some odd designs or features, but these five are the ones we think would get a lot of actual sales from people who still love the brand. However, we could be wrong; we want to hear your thoughts. Which classic Nokia phone do you want to come back, and why? Let us know your picks in the comments!