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Nokia 3310: could you survive 2017 with a dumbphone?

AndroidPIT nokia 3310 7376
© nextpit by Irina Efremova

After seven years of partnership, Nokia and Microsoft have decided to call it a day. The divorce is still fresh but Nokia (in conjunction with HMD Global) is bouncing back. MWC 2017 was the Finnish company's opportunity to re-enter the smartphone market, but one of the devices it chose to release took us back to a time before smartphones: the Nokia 3310. This raised an interesting question: is it still possible to live without a smartphone these days?

A trip down memory lane

Nokia recently made their big comeback at MWC 2017, where its new generation of devices proved to be quite popular and received positive reviews. That said, Nokia had another ace up its sleeve and decided to draw on another clever marketing strategy: emotion. To be specific, the emotion of nostalgia, where the past glory of old devices like the Nokia 3310 left an indelible mark on a number of generations (my own included). 

It's obvious that Nokia is using this device as a publicity stunt, so as to ensure it attracts attention to the brand and to let everyone know that it is now manufacturing Android smartphones. The strategy has worked, but no matter how many smartphones the company releases into the market Nokia will always be a dumbphone legend. This new Nokia 3310 is straddling both of these worlds; it’s not the phone it once was, let alone the kind of smartphone we are using today.

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Forget WhatsApp and YouTube, the Nokia 3310 can only be used for phone calls. / © NextPit

Once the 30 seconds of nostalgia had passed, I asked myself: would I be able to go back to using a dumbphone? And, more interestingly, would anyone else? Would there be a market out there for phones like the new Nokia 3310?

Nokia 3310: society has moved on

Would you abandon your smartphone and opt for a Nokia 3310 today? If you like to chat on Messenger or WhatsApp, the answer is clearly "No" because they’re not compatible with the 3310. If you want to do quick searches on the Internet, you can forget about it as the 3310 can’t be used with WiFi. Perhaps you like to use lots of apps or take high quality photos and share them directly to social media? You can forget about that too.

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It would be hard to go back to using such a camera phone. / © NextPit

This Nokia is aimed at people that want to use a phone as a phone … to phone people. There's also a few people who want to play Snake, which incidentally has also changed. It's a funny idea for a phone to have such a straightforward use, as so many of us will often use our smartphones as a substitute for a computer. In some professional environments, I imagine it could be useful for people who need nothing else from a phone other than to receive and make calls. For personal use, however, I seriously doubt there would be many people who would be willing to give up the 'virtual life' that smartphones provide for us. 

Of course, there are some of us who don’t have a smartphone and don’t want one, but it’s obvious that in our society (thanks to consumer trends and the new 'normal' of living in an interconnected world) smartphones are now an everyday part of our lives. As my colleague Pierre said, history has shown that, in terms of technology, it's very rare for society to take a step backwards, especially if the concept has altered the lives of millions of people. 

History has shown that, in terms of technology, it's very rare for society to take a step backwards

Do we really want to abandon our smartphones?

The concept of a 'less smart’ smartphone is interesting, though I’m not sure it has much of a future. Of course, this devices is aimed at a certain type of clientele. This is clearly not the average smartphone user like you or I, who uses their smartphones for anything and everything. 

Being able to access WhatsApp and Facebook would be a huge step forward, but negotiations with the US giant to develop apps for the Nokia 3310 haven’t been easy. I know many people that never use their smartphone to play games or watch videos - they'll use WhatsApp, the calendar and one or two other applications (like Wikipedia, for example). In short, it has basic functions with simple synchronization. Another problem is the connection.  It’s hard to find a slow network that only works with a SIM card, without a doubt you need WiFi. "Limited Connection" makes complete sense here, especially if you’re used to a permanent connection.

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Could there be anything between a dumbphone and a smartphone? / © NextPit

Low-end smartphones are already available for those users who want less from their mobile device, and rightly so. The main problem with these devices is that they want to do a little bit of everything, but have only a limited amount of success. Why not produce a device that only concentrates on certain tasks and doing them well? Perhaps focus more on the battery and less on the camera, just as an example.

Of course, that’s just a dream. The reality is that such a device wouldn't have any market appeal. The emergence of the Internet of Things and other modern technologies, like drones, are making smartphones (mainly top-end ranges) more and more indispensable.

Would you be able to abandon your smartphone for a device like the Nokia 3310? How long do you think you would last? Let us know in the comments below. 

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Benoit Pepicq

Benoit Pepicq

Benoit is passionate about new technologies and everything related to computers. A big Android fan since 2011, he joined the AndroidPIT team to satisfy his passion and to share his knowledge on Android with readers.

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  • Yup 2
    Yup Mar 16, 2017 Link to comment

    Yes! I would 100% buy this phone for my kids. I work with kids and parents are going giving their kids smart tech earlier and earlier. I know 1-3rd graders in trouble for showing each other porn at school.

    I know of 6th graders who've been arrested because they shared a nude photo of a classmate that's she sent to him, both didn't realize that sharing nude photos of themselves or peers is considered distribustion of child pornography. I dropped in on a social media chat my kid wasn't In (luckily intercepted it before my kid saw it) and found them sharing hentai porn and nude men with hardons and with butt plugs. I over heard a 12 year old say she didn't like how her mom supervised her email and texts, so she loved Snapchat because it erases. An 11 year old I know made friends with a 42 year old stranger on Instagram from a horoscope page and suggested they had a crush on them... until they learned they were 11. I don't want my kids exposed to this crap and under the secrecy of a personals device.

    I want my kid to be able to call and text their friends. I want to be able to call and text them and vice versa. I absolutely don't want them to having private access to the world via internet on a phone.

    I personally wouldn't mind dumbing down my phone either. I spend way too much time sucked into social media or playing games and I will waste hours on my phone and get new nothing done. Then I feel bad and am mad at myself for wasting so much time.

    I'd buy an dumb phone and go back to checking emails and getting lost in the YouTube rabbit hole only on the computer. Hell I think more people could benefit From it.

    Not to mention all the money I'd save monthly. Hundreds of dollars to finance a $600 phone or get unlimited data is ridiculous.

    Connie Bryant

  • jetscreamer1 3
    jetscreamer1 Mar 16, 2017 Link to comment

    Is a great phone for seniors who don't give a damn about apps.


  • Albin Foro 30
    Albin Foro Mar 16, 2017 Link to comment

    I gave up my excellent Nokia 2100 (still working) mainly to get the QUERTY virtual keyboard on a 3.5" LG Android G phone (still working, lives in the car for emergencies) that quickly blew me away with how much more it can do. Given my current use, I could go back to the LG's pocket and battery-friendly 3.5" screen with a current Android version and decent hardware specs. But not the Nokia key format or such a tiny screen - a cheap Blackberry would be a better blast from the past.

  • 8
    Koketso Pilane Mar 16, 2017 Link to comment

    Any one can say that this phone is an icon but bringing it back,I think that it was not the best of ideas because I mean now we have smartphones which are better looking,software is faster and there is 4G,but this phone brings back the good old days,this phone,I still have it but I am getting this phone because it is solid.You can try to break this phone I am sure you wouldn't be able to do it,the battery life on the phone is impeccable!

  • Shankar Prasad Nandi 18
    Shankar Prasad Nandi Mar 16, 2017 Link to comment

    It's totally irritating, all this hoopla over a 3310 copy by an unknown company. I hope people see right through the ruse soon.

  • 49
    storm Mar 15, 2017 Link to comment

    The phone is what I need least. The data connection is why I went to a smartphone. I could give up talk entirely. And with the screening Google voice supports, I just about have.

  • 1
    Michael Pritchard Mar 15, 2017 Link to comment

    I'm looking forward to the new 3310. I have limited, poor or sometimes no Internet where I work. So there is no need for a fancy smart phone. I just hope the build quality will be the same as the original, it was almost bullet proof. All I want to do is call or be called.

    • 49
      storm Mar 15, 2017 Link to comment

      We have opposite needs but it's good the market has what we both want.

  • Shankar Prasad Nandi 18
    Shankar Prasad Nandi Mar 15, 2017 Link to comment

    Oh much maligned smartphone! All this discussion of your faults would not have been possible had it not been for you!

    Deactivated Account

  • Dilan Nadumal 2
    Dilan Nadumal Mar 15, 2017 Link to comment

    I'd go for this simple device. Smart devices has no limits.. like s watch, s tv, even s
    so being simple is a better way... it's certain it will keep ourselves from whattsapp, vibre etc. but it still gives us simple text messages. Definitely there will be customers looking forward to buy this kind of phone..
    good luck nokia.. u always go for the different.. and has made the histrory... u will gain your name all over the world soon...
    best wishes...

    Dean L.Deactivated Account

  • 5
    Connie Bryant Mar 15, 2017 Link to comment

    3310 is useful for those who aren't interested in playing smartphone but iPad or computer, and my mom is one of those. Plus, for the matter of nostalgia, some users are on the way to buy it.

    Dean L.Dilan Nadumal

  • 31
    Deactivated Account Mar 15, 2017 Link to comment

    still using a very old Nokia for calls and text.. no worries about battery life (4/5 days) nice and simple,
    more than happy to live without a smartphone but not a PC..
    i don't own a PC so my smartphone/phablet gets used more like a PC, and more often than not gets left at home.

    unlike my family who are really hooked on their smartphones​ i
    haven't got time for stuff like social media, far too busy being social..

    Deactivated AccountDean L.Deactivated Account

  • 26
    Andrew Burgin Mar 15, 2017 Link to comment

    People in the present time do not like to use there Smartphones for calling people,they use it more for the Internet or playing films or games,so the little 3310 could be a phone that could just be used for calling,Construction workers will love having the 3310 as there smartphones will get damaged more than anyone else,with Dust or banging there phones in the pocket,it's worth having phone under £50 with you instead of ending up Breaking a phone over £200 -£300,Just wish the 3310 would have been a 4g phone,if it becomes more popular again Nokia might bring out a improved version or some other budget phones that were so popular

    Dean L.Dilan Nadumal

  • Dean L. 34
    Dean L. Mar 15, 2017 Link to comment

    It's a nice throwback and there are times I wish smartphones didn't exist. See way too many young kids with their eyes glued to a smartphone screen. For all the social interaction that social media offers, the one thing it doesn't offer is actual one on one human interaction. Case in point, tonight at a restaurant two women walked in talking and laughing and as soon as they say down at a table they both stopped talking and interacting and had the dead smartphone faces as all they did the whole time was on their smartphones. As soon as they got up to leave they started taking to one another again. Just wow! And just saying......

    Dilan NadumalDeactivated AccountDeactivated AccountDeactivated Account

    • 46
      Deactivated Account Mar 15, 2017 Link to comment

      I know a guy that started to date a girl. They met at a restaurant they sat down and the girl pulled out her phone and messaged him through Facebook. He said I am right here lets talk, she messaged him again she was more comfortable communicating the way they had been in Facebook. He told her if she couldn't talk to him he was not interested in dating her, She left.

      One reason I do not like or use social media. It creates more anti social behavior than social. In my unprofessional opinion.

      Deactivated AccountDean L.Dilan Nadumal

    • 1
      Ms. Cuéllar Mar 25, 2017 Link to comment

      The problem isnt technology or smartphones, it's the people who abuse them. All this anti-technology rubbish from some you old folks just reveals how snobbish and ignorant you are. If (keyword: if) you are so against technology then get off your computer and go back to living like you're in the Stone Age. We don't need to get rid of technology or smartphones, the people just need to stop abusing them.

      • Alexander Björn 1
        Alexander Björn May 29, 2017 Link to comment

        People are the way they are. We react to our environment, to stimuli, to dopamine. It's a lot easier to change what technology we use than to change human nature itself. That takes millions of years.

  • Ethan 4
    Ethan Mar 15, 2017 Link to comment

    I'm getting a 3310, and an iPad mini, but smart phones are the dumbest kind of phone, I swear to god. It's just a constant distraction, an easy escape from life, and the screen is so small it's not great for all the things the computer inside could do. I've stopped using one since six months ago, and I don't see myself going back, then again I'm not really leaving, I like having a small tablet.

    Ms. CuéllarDilan Nadumal

  • Shankar Prasad Nandi 18
    Shankar Prasad Nandi Mar 15, 2017 Link to comment

    The new 3310 is a dumbphone and the whole idea of capitalizing on mushy nostalgia is dumb. And just buying and using a brand name doesn't make you the same company. It makes you a copycat. I wouldn't give up my smartphone for illustrating any concept or Idea. It enables me in multifaceted ways that nothing else can. I am a fan of the smartphone, with all its positive and negative aspects.

    Ms. Cuéllar

    • Ethan 4
      Ethan Mar 15, 2017 Link to comment

      I've noticed that whenever I don't have a smart phone, I feel like life is just going better for me. I'll buy a tablet to have access to the functions of a smartphone when I'd like to, but on a more functional sized screen, but if the Nokia 3310 can do Snake game and Tetris, I'm not looking any further!

      YupDilan NadumalDeactivated AccountDean L.

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