Re­boot­ing Nokia’s cell­phone leg­end

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - SAMEER NAIK

IT’S BEEN listed as one of the best sell­ing cell­phones, with over 126 mil­lion sold be­fore the phone was phased out in 2005.

Now 12 years later, will the re­launched Nokia 3310 be just as pop­u­lar?

Its man­u­fac­tur­ers, Fin­ish Com­pany HMD Global, seem to think so.

The much loved clas­sic and near in­de­struc­tible phone, was re­leased this week in South Africa, with Cell C the first lo­cal mo­bile op­er­a­tor to stock the re­designed hand­set.

The re­vamped Nokia 3310, which is sell­ing for R749, looks sim­i­lar to its pre­de­ces­sor but, in­stead of the orig­i­nal mono­chrome dis­play it has a colour screen.

“Since we first an­nounced the Nokia 3310 at Mo­bile World Congress, we’ve ex­pe­ri­enced phe­nom­e­nal de­mand and in South Africa it’s been no dif­fer­ent,” Shaun Du­randt, the general man­ager, HMD Global, South­ern Africa said.

“The Nokia 3310 is a fun reimag­in­ing of one of the most pop­u­lar and iconic mo­bile hand­sets of all time.”

Among the im­pres­sive fea­tures of the new Nokia 3310 is its bat­tery life. The phone of­fers 31 days standby time, with 22 hours talk time.

“Bat­tery life is most peo­ple’s great­est con­cern and the new Nokia 3310 de­liv­ers ex­cep­tional bat­tery life and makes for a per­fect com­pan­ion phone as well.”

The phone has also rein­tro­duced its pop­u­lar mo­bile game Snake. How­ever, it has lim­ited in­ter­net ca­pa­bil­i­ties, re­ly­ing on 2.5G con­nec­tiv­ity, with users brows­ing at speeds slower than 3G.

It also has a sin­gle cam­era which has just two megapix­els.

“We’ re tar­get­ing this de­vice two fold – firstly as a com­pan­ion de­vice. Some con­sumers are buy­ing the phone to keep it in their cars, hand­bags, to use as a back-up should they run out of bat­tery power.

“The sec­ond aim is that 2G is still a very ac­tive band in most of Africa and con­sumers now have a choice of get­ting the Nokia 3310 as well as the Nokia 150, 216. It’s a con­sumer choice and pref­er­ence.”

But lo­cal tech ex­pert Arthur Gold­stuck doesn’t ex­pect the Nokia 3310 to set the con­sumer mar­ket alight.

“The phone looks like a toy and, with its bright, plas­tic colours, only vaguely re­sem­bles the orig­i­nal de­vice,” said Gold­stuck.

“At the price, from R699 up­wards, it’s more ex­pen­sive than en­try-level smart­phones, so peo­ple com­par­ing fea­tures will find it want­ing.”

Gold­stuck be­lieves the only rea­son the cell­phone will sell units is be­cause of the nos­tal­gia value of the de­vice.

“As such, it was a stroke of mar­ket­ing ge­nius, as it has ev­ery­one talk­ing about the brand, and many in the me­dia in a near-frenzy about its re­turn.”

“If they were merely launching the Nokia 3, 5 and 6, few would even bother cov­er­ing it.

“By in­vok­ing a leg­end, they have put the brand right up there with the ma­jor play­ers again.”

The Nokia 3310’s new funky look comes with ex­tended bat­tery life for 22 hours talk time and 31 standby days.

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