The iconic handset is reportedly set to be reborn later this month when HMD, the Finnish company that has the rights to the Nokia brand, unveils a new version of the device.
Despite the wonders of today’s smartphones, with their 4G internet connections, touchscreens and endless choice of apps – the 3310 still holds a special place in many hearts.
Nokia sold more than 100 million of them, and at a rumoured price of around £50, the new version could well feature as a popular second phone. Here’s why it holds such a cult status.
Endless battery life
Today’s smartphones last a day if you’re lucky, but the 3310 could go on for more than a week – longer in some circumstances. The four black bars on the right hand side of the screen were reassuringly static (there was no panicking about percentages back then) and because it was the world’s most popular phone, everyone had a charger.
And if the worst came to the worst, you could swap out batteries, borrowing a friend’s in a pinch. Of course, batteries weren’t more advanced back then, phones just didn’t have colour screens or Bluetooth radios, but the convenience of the 3310 should serve as an example to today’s manufacturers.
If you’ve had a smashed screen or busted home button, you may well have pined for the days when your old Nokia could fall from the top of a three story building and survive intact.
The 3310’s plastic shell and clicky buttons – which could be removed and replaced created a toughness that meant the 3310 endured as an internet meme long after it left the shelves.If you’ve had a smashed screen or busted home button, you may well have pined for the days when your old Nokia could fall from the top of a three story building and survive intact.
Phone call quality
The 3310 helped mobile phones being more than just phones, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t also great at making calls.
This is no easy task, as Apple discovered in 2010 when the iPhone 4’s “Antennagate” meant calls were easily dropped on the brand new device. In fact, according to Ofcom, many metal and glass smartphones have inferior signal quality to the plastic dumbphones of yore.
If Keanu Reeves sliding down the cover on his 8110 in The Matrix was the height of 90s cool, the 3310 ushered in the era of the candybar phone: squat, stubby and lacking an external antenna (okay, technically that last one belongs to its predecessor, the 3210).
While mobiles had been a yuppie accessory in the 80s and showed you meant business in the following decade, they became a fashion accessory in the 2000s. The 3310 was best known for its navy blue but came in a range of hues and could be infinitely customised with garish fascias.
Smart before its time
The 3310 was dumb by today’s standards, but compared to some competitors it was a supercomputer. It had a stopwatch, alarm clock and calculator, and was able to send text messages of longer than 140 characters.
And while the Game Boy had been around for over a decade, the 3310 meant that games were instantly available. By far the most famous was Snake II, which needs no introduction. While it has been recreated on the touchscreen, there is no substitute for using the mechanical 2, 4, 6 and 8 to move around a low-resolution serpent.