LONDON — On Wednesday, one of the most hotly anticipated gadgets of the year finally hit store shelves in the UK. No, not the latest iPhone, or an Amazon Echo smart speakers.
I’m talking about the new Nokia 3310.
The 3310, originally launched in 2000, was a cult classic — hardy, with a long battery life, and an iconic design. Earlier this year, news broke that there were plans to relaunch a new and updated version of it — sending fans into a nostalgia-fuelled frenzy.
Sure, it doesn’t have a web browser, or GPS, or apps, or any of a thousand things we now expect from all modern smartphones.
But it does have a 31-day battery life, texting and calls, and a basic two-megapixel camera, and sells for £49.99. (And, perhaps most importantly, includes Snake.)
I went down to a launch at Carphone Warehouse on Oxford Street, London, on Wednesday morning to see what all the fuss was about.
The Nokia 3310 was due to officially go on sale at 10.33 AM (get it?) on Wednesday morning. In the UK, it's being sold at Carphone Warehouse and Vodafone stores. I turned up 20 minutes early to get a feel for the mood.
An iPhone launch, this was not. At Apple's smartphone launches, diehard fans are known to camp overnight. At the 3310 launch, there was just a spattering of bemused would-be customers.
That's not to say the store was empty, though. There were plenty of other journalists, bloggers, vloggers, social media 'influencers,' and PR people -- seemingly rather more than actual customers.
I had been promised giveaways, and no expense was spared. I got given a contactless card holder, a badge, and a gummy snake candy. Woo.
There was also a photo booth where excited customers could get their photos taken with novelty snakes and phones.
It comes in four colours -- classic matte blue or grey, or a glossy red or yellow. (One man abruptly got up and left when he was told they didn't have any red in stock.)
One customer told me he planned to get one for his tech-illiterate mother. Others were there out of curiosity, or because they wanted a simple, no-frills device.
Which, for all the hype, is exactly what this is. It's not an exact remake of the Nokia 3310. It's just a very basic feature phone, with excellent battery life.
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