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Legendary Nokia phone gets a reboot

Four new Nokia-branded cell phone models were unveiled on Sunday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The star of the show was the revamped version of one of the company's most widely known mobile phones, the Nokia 3310. All the models will be produced by a licensee, HMD Global.

Nokian 3310 -puhelin.
Oldie but goldie: The Nokia 3310, upgraded. Image: HMD Global

Nokia's hardware manufacturer HMD Global announced a total of four new phone models on Sunday at Barcelona's Mobile World Congress. One of the newcomers is actually a reboot of the classic and purportedly "indestructible" model 3310.

A Nokia smart phone comeback has been a subject of hope and speculation for years following its fall from mobile grace in 2014.

The popularity and sturdiness of the 3310 is legendary. The internet is still brimming with memes, articles and other references to one of the world's most recognisable and beloved cell phones.

Also making a triumphant return is one of the model's favourite features, the simple yet addictive Snake game.

Experts gathering at the convention even say that including the revamped classic in the launch package was a good move, as the three new models – Nokia 6, 5 and 3 -- took a back seat to the nostalgia-inducing news.

"Essence of Nokia"

HMD Global CEO Arto Nummela calls the new and improved 3310 a "digital detox" due to its distinct and purposeful lack of digital features – which also accounts for its long battery life and low price of some 50 euros per unit.

Nummela says that HMD Global has made major inroads in a more affordable price bracket, boosting confidence and demand.

"This move comes from an enduring trust in the brand," he says. "We're bringing back the true essence of Nokia: reliability, simplicity, Nordic design and high quality."

All four models are soon set to hit markets in over 100 countries, including Finland. Nummela says that HMD has its sights on emerging as one of the top phone manufacturers in the world in the coming years.

Rise of an ailing image?

Outside the convention centres, people milling around in Barcelona's famous La Rambla boulevard were surprisingly excited about the returning Nokia brand.

"I guess I'm a little surprised," Sarah Love from New York City commented on the reboot news. "Nokia was never the biggest brand in the US, it was very popular very early on but not really known for its smart phones. I remember them mostly for being small and easy to fit in your pocket."

Nokia gave up on its phone business in 2014, but many ex-Nokia employees are involved in HMD's cellular revival.

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