Updated: June 18, 2020 3:03:07 pm
There is this thing about nostalgia. Even a fleeting glance at something that reminds one about the past could momentarily turn back the clock and make them relive that exact moment they had first experienced it. Images of the new Nokia 3310 does not evoke those feelings. The Finnish phone-maker realised that there is a market for retro phones and, like any other corporation, is out to cash in on these ‘feelings’. The former market behemoth looking out for the interests of its shareholders is not surprising. It is, however, disappointing to see the end product — a glossy eyesore, peddled in the name of nostalgia.
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In Nokia’s defence, it is easy to speculate about the brief given to its product design and development team. Their target audience may not necessarily be someone from the pre-smartphone era, but could be those who had never held the 3310 before. There is a huge market for feature phones in India; Nokia’s aggressive pricing and enhanced features of the 3310 backs this argument. Nokia’s legacy is fortified despite its flagging sales. If anyone could lay claim to persuading more Indians to go mobile, it is Nokia. But, if launching a feature-packed phone for the masses was the original idea then why destroy something that has become intrinsically part of our pop culture.
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The original 3310, for many of us at least, was our first mobile phone. It became a synonym for its near-indestructibility, spawned numerous memes on social media, and converted most of us into serious mobile gamers, thanks to ‘Snake’. The rebooted 3310, on the other hand, comes with a colour screen — A COLOUR SCREEN — and several additions that were non-existent in its first edition. The jury is still out on the new 3310. And it remains to be seen whether the neophytes would embrace the product like the first generation users once did.
The bone of contention, however, is its frippery. We have seen film studios reboot their signature franchises by repackaging them to newer audiences; case in point: The Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Jurassic World. The studios had accomplished the mission they had set out to achieve — to mint money — but failed to recreate the magic like its predecessors. The CGI-packed versions went on to become symbols of gross vulgarity and perversion that now pervades Hollywood. Similarly, looking at the 3310 screen in colour is like watching the digitally remastered and colourised version of the 1957 Mayabazar. It is the same, one might argue. Then why buy a Rado or Rolex when one could buy cheap, Chinese knockoffs that have flooded our markets. In its latest avatar, Nokia’s mission statement — “connecting people” — now seems a thing of the past.
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