Nokia 3310 reboot: Here are five things that could make the classic phone usable in 2017

There are strong rumours which indicate that HMD Global, the current licensee of the Nokia brand, will resurrect the Nokia 3310 at MWC 2017, alongside the Nokia 3, Nokia 5, and Nokia 8. The Nokia 3310, as most of you reading would probably already know, was one of the best-remembered Nokia phones of all time. Reportedly selling over 100 million units in its lifetime, the phone was famous for its durability, although the claims of it being “indestructible” might be exaggerated.

If true, this is a rather smart move for HMD Global. Just look at the huge demand for the Nokia 6 in China; it’s not like people are buying it for the specs, making it obvious that the ‘Nokia’ brand value is still pretty relevant. Also, in a world full of touch-only, fragile smartphones, many of which can’t even last 24 hours on a single charge, the rebooted Nokia 3310 could be an interesting secondary or backup phone to own.

But if you think about it, the Nokia 3310 was released nearly 17 years ago. A lot of things have changed since then. Standards have evolved, and we’ve gotten accustomed to certain conveniences that just weren’t a norm back in the day. It’s going to be a tricky tightrope to walk for its makers, considering the phone is said to be priced around Rs 4,000. Although the expectation would be to keep the new 3310 close to the simplicity of the original, it need not be a literal copy. Here are five things that’ll make the new Nokia 3310 usable in 2017.

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Nano/Micro SIM slots, Dual SIM

The original Nokia 3310 had a Mini SIM back in 2000, but we can certainly say that you’ll be hard pressed to find a phone that supports it today. Many phones have moved to the smallest nano SIM form factor, while a few others still sport the slightly bigger microSIM card slot. Either way, to effectively use the new 3310 as a secondary phone, there needs to be easy swappability of SIMs from other phones.

On the subject of SIM cards, it’s also a no-brainer that the new 3310 should be dual SIM compatible too. Dual SIM is the norm in the two most populous countries of the world, and comes in real handy especially during today’s times when the telecom wars are at its peak in world.

4G support

The original Nokia 3310 supported two bands on the GSM network, 900 MHz and 1800 MHz. Today, for a phone to be interoperable worldwide, it at the very least needs to support the four prevalent bands – 850 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 1900 MHz respectively.

But the story goes beyond just bands, it needs to support 4G too. Now, you may ask why a dumb phone that won’t be used for streaming videos or download apps, need 4G support? Well, two reasons – modern operators like Reliance Jio don’t have 2G or 3G networks to fall back on, they operate only on 4G wherever you go. Next, operators like AT&T are seen shutting down 2G networks to reallocate that spectrum for modern, faster networks.

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Icing on the cake would be if the Nokia 3310 supported WiFi too, so then you could also use it as a portable 4G router when needed.

USB Type C charging

Remember the patli pin Nokia charger? Yes, unfortunately that proprietary connector is obsolete today. While today’s USB Type C charger can’t be plugged in any orientation like the good ol’ round socket, it’s still reversible – meaning you can plug it in either of the two orientations. Also, it’s universal and is being adopted by many electronics, cheap and expensive. Plus it also doubles as a connection point to your computer.

Contacts, Calendar syncing

Yes, there’s a good chance that the new Nokia 3310 will be very limited in function. Exactly how much tweaking HMD Global does to the proprietary OS that came with the original remains to be seen, but being a feature phone in 2017 doesn’t mean you have to be dumb. For example, moving from one smartphone to another today is convenient because our contacts, calendar entries, text messages and other stuff magically moves from one device to another over the cloud. There are standards like CardDAV and CalDAV that make it easy to move contacts between different operating systems and services as well.

If the new 3310 indeed has some form of Internet connectivity, it’ll be a shame if it doesn’t have the basic convenience of contacts and calendar syncing.

A battery life as long as the original

You’re probably thinking, if you want all those features, will the phone last as long as it did? Well, I’d like to believe so – simply because in the past decade, hardware inside mobile phones has shrunk quite a bit. If you were to look inside the body of a high-end phone today, you’ll notice that it is the battery that takes up the biggest space. That’s because every other component (like the SIM card slot) has incrementally been shrinking, among other reasons, to fit in a bigger battery.

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The original 3310 had a 900mAh battery. After 17 years, it certainly isn’t outlandish to expect a bigger battery, so that the rebooted Nokia 3310 too lasts for multiple days on a single charge, despite providing some of the modern conveniences mentioned above.

And that’s it for our wishlist. Honestly, there’s no telling what the outcome will be, so I suppose we’ll just have to wait a few more days and see.

So, would you buy a new Nokia 3310 if it had all of the above? Would you buy even if it had none of the above?

Let me know in the comments below.