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HMD Global continues Nokia nostalgia strategy with retro banana phone

Last year HMD Global resurrected Nokia's classic 3310 candybar feature phone, this year they revamped another 20-plus year-old handset — Nokia's "banana phone."

Nokia 8110 puhelin.
HMD Global's Nokia 8110 is an updated version of an earlier model released by Nokia in 1996. Image: Pau Barrena / AFP / Lehtikuva

HMD Global, a Finnish company mostly made up of former Nokia employees, has released its 2018 lineup of new mobile phones. The company does not actually manufacture Nokia handsets but has a licensing agreement to market the brand. It showed off their new phones at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona over the weekend.

The company controls an estimated one percent of the mobile phone global market share and is continuing last year's strategy of Nokia nostalgia by releasing updates of old classic feature phones. HMD also announced a handful of Android-based smartphones on Sunday.

Its new version of Nokia's "banana phone," the Nokia 8110, is slated to be on store shelves in May in yellow or black colours. The original phone received most attention in 1999, when use of the device was featured in the Hollywood science fiction classic The Matrix.

New "banana phone" has 4G

While the 8110 looks much like the model Nokia released in 1996, the innards of the new version will feature 4G cellular tech and have the ability to use Google's Assistant app, social media apps and email, according to the company.

HMD is marketing the phone as a device that people can use to "switch off" from smartphones on the weekends, while retaining some of their functionality.

As in last year's 3110 reissue, those longing for a nostalgic experience will also be able to play an updated version of Nokia's classic Snake game on the 8110. According to TechCrunch and other tech news outlets, the new device will run on a fork of Mozilla's discontinued Firefox OS.

Story continues after photo

HMD Globalin julkistamat uudet Nokia-puhelimet. Edessä Nokia 8 Sirocco, oikealla reunalla retropuhelinn Nokia 8110.
HMD Global's new Nokia phone lineup for 2018 was announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Sunday. Image: HMD Global

HMD Global is also continuing efforts to break into the wildly competitive smartphone market with four new Android-based handsets. The smartphones will run on the Android One operating system, according to HMD's CPO Juho Sarvikas.

The Android One platform is an unmodified version of Android originally designed for entry-level devices in emerging markets.

"We pride ourselves on making smartphones that address real-world needs. Our commitment to pure, secure and up-to-date Android is core to our strategy and is loved by consumers. Today, we take that commitment to a deeper level by becoming the lead partner for the Android One programme globally, delivering an experience that is endorsed by Google," Sarvikas said in a release issued Sunday.

Nokia's 2018 Android-based smartphone lineup

Sometime in April, the company is releasing the Nokia 8 Sirocco Android-based phone, which is billed as an "ultra-compact powerhouse," featuring Zeiss optics in the camera and a 5.5 inch display.

The Nokia 7 Plus is being heralded as the company's flagship this year. If features a six-inch display, dual cameras on both front and back of the device — as well as optical zoom capabilities.

The company appears to be marketing the Nokia 7 Plus as its "flagship" but at a global average retail price of about 400 euros, the handset is significantly less dear than the flagship devices from big manufactures like Samsung and Apple.

Slightly less expensive than the flagship, the Nokia 6 will feature fast-charging capabilities via a USB-C port and a faster processor than last year's version.

The new Nokia 1, which is set to have a global average price of around 70 euros, is the most affordable of HMD's new line. The handset will feature interchangeable covers, which will be offered in a range of colours.

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