/ Technology

Update: will you be queuing up for the new 3310?

Nokia 3310

Nokia’s 3310 has had a modern-day makeover and is set to return to the mobile phone market. Will you be queuing up for one?

Back in December 2015, I asked if you were using your smartphone as a ‘phone’ anymore. As the featured image, we had a modern-day iPhone alongside a classic Nokia 3310.

Why did I choose the 3310 for a comparison shot? Because it’s a classic – one of the world’s best-selling phones’, heaped with nostalgia and the device that launched thousands of internet memes.

Now, 12 years after its ‘retirement’, it’s rumoured to be making a comeback.

Nokia 3310

In terms of technology, 12 years is a long time. And in the past 12 years, we’ve seen the mobile phone industry make gigantic, game-changing strides since the 3310 ruled the roost.

Apple’s iPhone 3G revolutionised the way we use mobile tech in 2008 – paving the way for a new generation of touch-screen phones and tablets with readily available access to high-speed internet.

We’d soon end up with smartphone games more graphically impressive than the previous generation of dedicated games consoles – a long way from the 3310’s incredibly addictive and much-loved game, Snake II.

Snake was as synonymous with the 3310 as its ‘indestructibility’ and generous battery life.

Not only that, but it was also incredibly simple to use – the more I type, the more it sounds like the perfect device! But would it work for a modern-day user?

Well, a study by GSMA intelligence found that almost half of mobile phone users worldwide still only use their devices to make voice calls and send SMS. So it would seem that, for many people, a phone like the 3310 is more than adequate.

But, as goes the old saying: if it ain’t broke (it’s ‘indestructible’, remember?), don’t fix it?

3310 return

Newsbeat contacted Nokia about the rumours, and it responded:

‘Though we’re as excited as everyone else to hear their news, as we have often said about such stories, we do not comment on rumour or speculation.’

But that hasn’t stopped people getting a bit excited on social media about a potential rerelease. Many have also been sharing their memories of the device.

I’ll never forget making sure no one was using the phone line before dialling up the internet with a 56k modem and asking Jeeves for the latest ringtones. You had to manually input each sound into the Nokia ‘composer’ before setting the tempo. It was a long, painstaking process – but the results made it well-worth the effort.

According to a quick Google search, here’s what the Indiana Jones theme I once spent an eternity putting in looked like:

Tempo: 225
3, 08, 48, 5, 0, 1999*, (hold 0)888**, 288**, 08, 38, 4999, (hold 0)88, 588, 08, 68, 7, 0, 4999*, 088**, 688**, 08, 78, 199*, 2, 3, 38**, 08, 48, 5, 0, 1999*, 088**, 288, 08**, 38, (hold 4)999, 588**, 08, 58, (hold 3)9*, 08**, 2, 08**, 58**, (hold 3)9*, 08**, 2, 08**, 58**, (hold 4)9*, 08**, 3, 08**, 28, 199

Fun, right?!

Still, whenever there’s a new device released, my dad will chime in with his memories of the Motorola 8500X – now that was indestructible – complete with a lively aerial that’d shoot straight up your nose if it was in your top pocket! He still has it somewhere – I’ll dig it out for community tonight!

Update: 27 February 2017

It’s official, Nokia’s 3310 will be relaunched. It’s return has been officially announced at the World Mobile Congress.

The new phone will be less of a smartphone using 2.5G connectivity and an operating system that allows web browsing, but a smaller range of apps.

The camera is only two megapixels. But it’s battery life will probably win a lot of people over – the colour screen phone will have a month’s standby time and over 22 hours of talk time.

And most importantly the phone will have an updated version of Snake!

So are you tempted to by the 3310?


Back in the day, all four members of my family owned a Nokia 3310. It was simple, reliable and as solid as a brick, and I can definitely admit to wasting a considerable chunk of my first year as a teenager on Snake II. But I’ve fallen too in love with everything Apple to ever consider going back to a Nokia and simply can’t imagine life without a touchscreen, web browser, massive app store, camera, music player etc.

My parents, on the other hand…

David Adshead says:
22 February 2017

I’m an outreach worker for a local council and we all have mobile phones for work.
Half of our team are still using the original nokias we were issued 10 years ago.
Great piece of kit.

I fondly remember my old Nokia 3510i, which would run for a week between charges, helped by the fact that I did not use it much. I never did master Nokia’s predictive text messaging. I will stick with my vintage iPhone 5S, thank you.

My first mobile was a Siemens C25, which turned up yesterday when I was having a clear out of junk.

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Hi Duncan – it’s still happening to all of us 🙁 but a fix is being worked on… sorry it’s taking so long

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My Nokia 3310 was actually my mum’s and I was thankful for it’s indestructibility after my dog attempted to use it as a chew toy… My mother was none the wiser 😏

Bob Hatt says:
21 February 2017

YES YES YES provided new batteries are available that last and perform as well as the originals. I only need voice and SMS and the 3310 never failed to connect clearly and cleanly ! I’ve still got two of them and would welcome being able to get new SIMcards for them.

I suppose that if the new version would rarely work outside built-up areas we could recreate a more authentic experience of nostalgia. 🙂

Indeed, memories of the past are worth revisiting. It’s that warm glow of being there when the world of the smart phone was just a ringtone in the sky. Sadly, like most of the past events and early products, the Genie is loose, and what has gone on since can not be stuck back in the bottle. Some of us wish that we could reverse the discovery of nuclear fission, but we can’t, and it has its positive uses. So too do the up-to-date mobile phones, which can control things and spread instant joy/sorrow/disgust/praise/photographs/selfies/ -you name it – with a few thumb movements, and get to people almost at once, when there is a signal available. Again, some of us are content to let this pass us by, but I would be surprised if those who use these facilities would ever give them up. I would also be surprised if there were less than half of the population who rely on their million apps to run their lives. My phone doubles as a diary, an occasional information finder, a camera and a telephone and text messenger. It also contains a word processor to edit documents on the go. This is not something I use very often. What my phone does have is a keyboard. Podgy fingers are no longer a problem. No one makes these now, so we have lost one facility that used to be there. Nostalgia is good for dinner parties and telling the children how lucky they are… (no they’re not, but that’s another topic) but we do have to live in the world we have made for ourselves, and the modern mobile is very much a part of that. The public will decide what they want, sometimes led by inventors and sometimes by demand -or lack of it if something flops. Thus we travel on to ever new ringtones which tell us what we have to do and who is watching and listening to make sure we do it. Sometimes growing old has its advantages, since “they” won’t be bothering me when the phone becomes the master and we the slave. If the Nokia takes off, it will be as an adjunct to the other phones and something else to keep in the bag, car or pocket. When this becomes a nuisance, the craze, (what craze?…we’ll see.) will pass.

Any sort of gimmick just to make money !!

We have a Motorola DCS1800 mobile phone – Orange mr1 (how appropriate 🙂 ) that is still in its original packaging, never having been used. It includes a cassette about the Orange service – never played. I’m tempted to charge it up but as it dates back to the last century, think I’ll leave it until it become a museum piece.

I liked the style of Trimphones. Perhaps someone will reinvent wireless versions?

We have a red Trimphone in one of the rooms. It is a new version that has buttons instead of finger holes around the dial-ring. It does look rather smart standing on the black lacquer top of a Chinese-green cabinet. It warbles or chirrups when a call comes through. I agree, Malcolm, a wireless [portable] version would be a good idea so that you could put it in a room without a phone socket or even have it in your greenhouse. “DEFiant 8-0-8-0” I hear you say.

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After seeing a program where Anne Robinson interviewed school children and they showed off their mobile phones, I see a very good case for making this type of phone the only phones children are allowed to take to school.

One of the interviewees, whose mother was a nurse and father a gardener, said his parents had worked overtime to buy him a £700 phone that gave him bragging rights at school.

There seems to be considerable pressure for children to take expensive phones to school when they are little more than toys and status symbols and you can only feel sorry for the children who cannot compete.

If all children could only take the same phone to school, they would all be on an even footing, at least with mobile phones.

I agree with that. It’s asking for trouble giving young children expensive phones; it makes them so much more vulnerable. I question whether they should have one at all but I’ve lost that argument.

At one time, simple calculators were expensive but it was not long before they became cheap. Hopefully phones will go the same way. Kids become materialistic by copying their parents in addition to peer pressure.

Our youngest grandchild – 8 – has just been given his first phone. Not allowed at school but does allow contact to be made – both ways – if necessary when out playing. A Nokia on Tesco PAYG. Cost £15. Why do they need more? Many now will have an IPad at home (lucky blighters) to do the on line stuff.

Still, it’s their parents prerogative to do what they want with their money – as long as they have enough left to live on and avoid going overdrawn.

Alfa wrote: “If all children could only take the same phone to school, they would all be on an even footing, at least with mobile phones.”

That’s an interesting idea – a modern equivalent of the school uniform.

I’m not sure how I got on this site (maybe because I’d signed a Which? petition about nuisance calls?), and you all amaze me. I’ve never had a mobile phone and have no idea how they work and am sure I could never use one (am a technofobe) and don’t see any need for one at all. I work on my desktop fixed computer most of the day – using Vista – for a charity, e-mailing folk, typing up minutes of meetings, writing little stories for the website, and have an ordinary home phone with fairly big numbers. When I go out, swimming, running or shopping, I do not want anyone to contact me and see no need to contact anyone. Need to feel free! I drive but I don’t have satnav – I just look in the A to Z and draw myself a little map of where I’m going – and if its too far or complex, I just don’t go! And I’ve never played a computer game of any sort in my life. I don’t even know what the word ‘App’ stands for. I can’t work the TV now that it has pause and watch again, so if my husband leaves me or dies suddenly I will go into sheltered housing the very next day … I just couldn’t cope with this high tech life at all. Oh, I can type at 100 wpm on a nice big clattery keyboard but I couldn’t text, as you have to use your thumb, not all your fingers without looking, as I do! (And in order to text, I’d have to have a mobile phone, and I haven’t got one).

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Dale C says:
25 February 2017

I was doing a clear out a few weeks ago and found my old 3310. Out of curiosity I charged it up and the lights came on. So I took the sim out of my present phone ( it’s a simple one, not one of those complicated smart phones) and the 3310 came to fully to life!! Why did I ever abandon it?

Slightly off topic, but in reply to malcolm r’s comment about museum pieces, my iMac (2008) is now officially a museum piece, as far as Apple is concerned, as I am not able to download Sierra (latest version of OS X) onto it – only 2009 and newer versions can do this.
Back to phones, I’m not sure if the Nokia 3310 was a ‘fancy’ phone, but I’m still using a Nokia 1110 – it’s been dropped so many times, that I consider it to be indestructible.

Margaret House says:
25 February 2017

This is the phone I still use. I was becoming quite embarrassed about it until this news – now I feel proud and smug!

Shugg says:
27 February 2017

I’ve still got an unlocked 3310 as a backup to my Samsung Galaxy when there’s no signal or just for the sake of it. Stick a Tesco sim card in, add £10, it gets trebled, job done.

Neede new case and batteries, all got from ebay and all good.

With phone networks poised to start turning off 2G coverage, with the default offering becoming a 3G signal, this new handset may obsolete before it reaches the shops.

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Has anyone seen the new handset?

Seems the battery life and talk time is the key selling point here.

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Nokia lost market share a few years ago when they failed to invest in new technology. I don’t see them having much success by relaunching the 3310 unless it’s priced at less than £20 to compete with other basic phones readily available

I never got rid of my 3330 (the 3310’s successor in the same case, but includes address book transfer to and from a SIM). It was easy enough to get the ‘crack’ code from the Internet to liberate it from its original provider. As you’ve observed, the battery lasts well – even an ageing battery holds up for 4 days with minimal use. I was given an iPhone 3 and don’t get on with it. Unlike the 3330, you have to dissemble the iPhone completely to get at the battery (which has almost died in mine) – a *very* fiddly job that I’m not dexterous enough to do at my advanced age. Besides, the iPhone’s puny little screen is far too small for ageing eyes to read – so I’ve binned it and use a tablet instead. Oh yes, the cameras in both are also pathetic – so I have an ‘proper’ camera for taking photos. Smart phones are all very well as compact ‘all-in-ones’, but they’re also Jacks of all trades and masters of none.

So is my 3330 now collectable?

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georgina says:
22 June 2017

where can you buy the nokia 3310 and get it on a contract

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