We’ve been eagerly waiting for Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress, and it’s here (and nearly done)! While we’re used to seeing a big unveil of new features for iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy line (which have been fixtures at the event since 2007)… this year we went back to the future, with Nokia and Blackberry making the biggest splash!
If you’re surprised to see these names back in the battlefield, you’re not alone. But it’s exactly what’s happening! It’s not just due to the absence of Samsung’s Galaxy S8, whose launch date got shifted to late March. There’s a genuine feeling that users are sick of the big-screened, battery-draining smartphone, and they want something different. And the good old days have never been forgotten, of course.
Take BlackBerry’s KEYone for example. It’s an Android smartphone with a physical keyboard, and while that set of traits would’ve gotten it immediately laughed off a few years ago (as proven by BlackBerry’s now non-existent market share), this year it’s the phone that stands out the most. This new Blackberry phone has genuinely generated tons of buzz on social media, demonstrating how there’s still many people that feel like the iPhones or Samsungs are missing something crucial.
Yes, everyone else has a smartphone with a big screen and, visually, not much else. That’s great from a usability perspective, but if you want to stand out from the crowd, you’ll need a different type of device, and BlackBerry KEYone fits the bill. And let’s not forget, it’s great for typing messages and emails! The touch screen is cool, yes, but what about that amazing tactile feeling we all had when texting from our old Blackberry’s keyboard?
Another example is HMD’s re-launched Nokia 3310. That phone was famous back in the days for being super-solid, long-lasting and reliable. And now that Nokia has started producing it again, it has generated a lot of interest over the last few days. Nokia 3310 is not a device for a modern businessman or even a casual user. People though are excited about its long battery life, retro look and simply having a phone that’s not a smartphone. At 49 euros a piece, many of us won’t be able to resist to its call!
The need for the second phone — a phone away from a smartphone — has created an entirely new breed of feature phones; or, better put, featureless phones. Two examples are the ultra-cheap Talkase T3 phone and the Kickstarted Light phone, both of which exist for one specific purpose: to give you a little bit of rest from your smartphone’s screen.
Nokia and other companies are now using their leverage on our emotional sphere as much as Nintendo did a couple of months ago with its Mario Run release: the new 3310 aims to fill out the empty space that Nostalgia has left in our minds. The 3310 model gives you 1/10 of the possibilities a normal smartphone gives you, but playing Snake pushing those heavy buttons will bring back feelings we thought were long gone! And as we know, it’ really difficult to say no to an old, loyal friend.
Of course, we’re all excited about the upcoming Galaxy S8 and the iPhone 8 (if that’s what it’ll be called) and their huge screens, powerful new processors and thousands of features. But after ten years in smartphone land (the original iPhone launched in 2007), we are looking for something new (or really old), even if it’s just for those away-from-smartphone moments.
Will you be one of those who can’t wait to buy the new version of the 3310? Let us know what you think about this Nokia’s market move in the comments below!