For '90s babies, the emergence of the cell phone was a major timeline moment — and now, with the news that a Nokia evolution that actually hearkens back to the non-smart phones of our youth, many are wondering key questions like, does the new Nokia 3310 have apps? The original did not, of course, but it did inspire many other notable events: Suddenly, pagers were unnecessary. Pay phones were obsolete. An entirely new set of slang developed to reflect The Wonderful World of Texting, and the Nokia 3310 was the model upon which many first learned the lingo. Its return is, therefore, much heralded by its target demographic.
In an announcement at the World Mobile Conference on Feb. 26, HMD, the current owners of Nokia, laid out their plan to re-introduce the classic 3310 cell phone model. Once the largest phone manufacturer in the world, Nokia's influence has declined somewhat since the emergence of the smartphone. They do currently offer several Android smartphone options, but according to a 2015 tally, Nokia didn't even rank within the top five Android phone manufacturers, who collectively put out 87.8 percent of product.
In a market where the latest models of smartphones can cost several hundred dollars, the new Nokia 3310 will retail for about $52. It has a camera, a headphone jack, an mp3 player, a 22-hour battery, and the ability to connect to an internet browser — all useful features for accomplishing the things a phone is generally expected to do: Call people, text, check email, and listen to music.
But you know what it doesn't have? A touch screen. This means that all texting must be done with buttons. It also means there's no easily shatter-able glass, eliminating situations in which, say, you are trying to apply lipstick on a train platform and you get scared by a bird and you drop your phone and you have to take it to some weird, back-alley tech fixer.
That is purely a hypothetical.
And because there's no touch screen, it should also not be a surprise that there is no app store. Which means, my little digital age babes, that there are also no apps.
Yep, that's right. No Instagram, no Twitter, no photo filters — none of it. For some, though, this may be one of the advantages. In a cultural climate filled with vitriol and anxiety, many Millennials are beginning to shift away from social media platforms and life lived online. Instead, we're choosing to follow the news, engage in tangible actions, and practice mindfulness. A phone with the bare minimum may be just what we need to push our goals of being more present, both physically and mentally, into reality.
But don't worry — it still has Snake. Some things, at least, never change.