Nokia’s 17 Year Old 3310 Took Center Stage At MWC
Recent Press conferences from LG, Motorola, Samsung, and Sony confirmed all attendees seemed to care about at Mobile World Congress was a rebooted, 17 year old device. A candy bar feature phone whose main selling point is its ability to play Snake, surpassing BlackBerry’s KeyOne smartphone. Feature phones never disappeared. You can still purchase them inexpensively. Yet, HMD’s Nokia 3310 seems to have gathered more excitement at the show than any new forerunner, including LG’s G6.
LG noted during its press conference that the future of mobile innovation will be about usability than specs, just before talking up its fancy new aspect ratio. LG was right, the smartphone battle has too often been waged as a war of specs, but the company’s execution was off. One decade after the iPhone transformed the mobile industry, consumers have grown tired of a war over incremental updates like display resolutions and megapixels. After ten years of hard fought redundancy, what is conceivably the most out-of-date phone of the show feels like a breath of fresh air.
You can call it smartphone fatigue if you’d like. The churn of the yearly upgrade cycles and the flood of me-too handsets seems to have hit a breaking point, so much so that the solid gimmick of reviving a feature phone nearly old enough to vote in the US overshadowed a handful of the year’s biggest smartphone announcements. We would like to recommend that the sentiment is symptomatic of some larger trend to return to simpler technological times, that the 3310 in the beginning of a nostalgia movement among smartphone buyers akin the vinyl movement of the last several years. However, the only larger trend the 3310 is ominous of is our need of a break from the seemingly endless parade of minor smartphone upgrades.