Nokia appears to have made a comeback into the mobile phone industry as they announced and unveiled four new mobile phones including the relaunched Nokia 3310 at the Mobile World Congress 2017 held in Barcelona.
Nokia 6, Nokia 5 and Nokia 3 will run on Android Nougat software while the Nokia 3310 will run Series 30+. The Android-powered handsets will also come pre-loaded with Google Assistant - Google's AI-powered assistant.
The Nokia brand has been through a lot. The company behind the brand was for a period the largest vendor of mobile phones in the world, with its Symbian platform powering some of the earliest proper smartphones to hit the market. However, the company lost out to its competitors due in part to an inability to foresee rapid changes in the mobile phone industry.
Nokia entered into an agreement with Microsoft to exclusively use the Windows Phone platform on its devices. Eventually, the mobile phone division was acquired outright by Microsoft, which chose to limit the Nokia brand to feature phones, while producing smartphones under the Microsoft Mobile brand.
In mid-2016, Microsoft sold its feature phone business and the rights to use the Nokia brand to Finnish company HMD Global, which is behind the revival and the new devices.
Apart from the flagship Nokia 6 device, which is crafted from a single block of 6000 series aluminium and features dual speakers and Dolby Atmos for immersive sound and deeper bass, there's not much else that differentiates the new devices from what current manufacturers offer. There are even better versions available for the same price points.
Looks like the new Nokia devices will have to rely on more than just brand familiarity to gain some traction in the smartphone market.
What caught the eye with Nokia's comeback is the remake of the legendary (at least in our part of the world) Nokia 3310.
What made the first rendition of the Nokia 3310 legendary across numerous Afrikan countries was its durability and long battery life. Add to that it was likely most people's first ever mobile phone, you get to understand why there's so much hype about the re-release of the Nokia 3310.
Battery specifications of the original Nokia 3310 released in 2000
Is the hype related to the Nokia 3310 justified and will it translate to sales?
Maybe. Looking at what made the original Nokia 3310 popular and looking at the battery specifications of the new Nokia 3310, there is a massive improvement in an age where we are constantly looking to charge our smartphones. The new Nokia 3310 has maximum 22,1 hours of talk time compared to its predecessors 4h30min, and then you look at the standby time of up to 31 days compared to the previous one of approximately 10 days you start to believe that people will be queuing to buy the new Nokia 3310.
Pause the hype, let's be honest. The new Nokia 3310 is a neanderthal dressed in faux-Gucci in the age of homo sapiens. Despite the call functionality, SMS, MP3 playback (which you can't even link to your favourite music service) and a camera that takes photos that look a decade old, there isn't much else to the new Nokia 3310 except nostalgia.
Having said that, there is likely a huge market for the new Nokia 3310 especially in Afrika (no, not the nostalgic or hipsters) among those who still want to upgrade their dumb and feature phones.
But with the rumored price tag $52, Nokia might have just priced the 3310 out of reach for those looking to upgrade their dumb and feature phones considering you can buy sub-$50 Android powered phones.