Years have passed since its last hit phone, but the Nokia name still commands respect. As one of the pioneers of the modern mobile handset, Nokia is something of an elder statesman in today’s market, revered but long thought to be too old and out-of-touch with new trends. But parent company HMD Global is convinced that there’s still something left in Nokia’s tank, and its new slate of Android phones unveiled at MWC looks to prove that.
The headline-grabber is the retooled 3310, a modernized version of the rugged candy bar handset that was made obsolete by the iPhone. While it’s not an Android phone, it will definitely appeal to smartphone users as a secondary phone free of distractions.
It’s not quite a carbon-copy of the original, but it keeps most of its charm (and hopefully, its indestructible body). For around $50 you’ll get a 2.4-inch screen, voice and text messaging, limited Internet browsing via an Opera Mini browser, a 2MP camera, and a 22-hour battery. And yes, you will still be able to play Snake on it. It will be available in black, silver, red, and yellow, and we’re keeping our fingers and toes crossed for a U.S. release.
HMD is also adding a pair of budget phones to its fledgling lineup of Android Nokia phones: the Nokia 5 and Nokia 3. The 5 features a 5.2-inch 720p display, Snapdragon 430 processor, microUSB port, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and a 12MP camera. It features an aluminum design in four colors, blue, silver, matte black, and copper, and will cost approximately $200.
The Nokia 3 slides further down the scale, with a plastic, $150 frame. The screen is just 5 inches and it includes a MTK 6737 quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 8MP camera, and 16GB of storage.
Additionally, the previously announced Nokia 6 will be expanding to the rest of the world (though not the U.S. yet). Already on sale in China, the handset features a 5.5-inch 1920×1080 LCD display, Snapdragon 430 chip, a 16MP rear camera, 64GB of storage, and a 3,000 mAh battery. It comes in matte black, glossy black, silver, blue, and copper varieties, and will cost around $250 (with a $50 premium for the glossy black color).
What HMD is hoping sets these Nokia phones apart from the Moto G5 and Honor 6x is the software. But it’s not what it’s done to it, but what it hasn’t. All Nokia phones feature the purest Android Nougat experience this side of a Pixel phone, with no bundled apps or interface tweaks, and the promise of regular updates.
HMD says the phones will be available in the second quarter of 2017. And while a U.S. release hasn’t been ruled out, there are no current plans to work with any operators in the States.
Something old, something new: This time last year, Nokia was thought to be a dead brand walking, but HMD has certainly breathed new life into it. While the Android phones here won’t set the world on fire, it’s a good start to building Nokia into a recognizable brand again. And the classic 3310 is a stroke of genius. Much like Nintendo built up hype with its NES Classic Mini, anyone who once owned one of Nokia’s tiny rugged phones is going to want to buy one.