back to article Vinyl, filofaxes – why not us too, pleads Nokia

HMD, the custodian of the Nokia brand, is cranking up the nostalgia ahead of its return at MWC at the end of the month. Pre-publicity material is about heritage - although how much the new models have to do with the Nokia DNA is open to question. The goal of the pre-launch publicity material seems to be to remind everyone how …

  1. Anonymous South African Coward Bronze badge

    Would not mind having a 3310 or 3210 as standby phone for phonecalls only. Just a basic, no-frills phone.

    But with enough RAM to store a lot of SMSes and phone book entries, and maybe a way to synchronize your phone book with your google phone book (or something like that).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How much memory do you think you'll need? At 7 bytes per stored phone number you must have a hell of a lot of phone book entries - how do you propose to navigate them?

      I'd suggest that it's best not to store those things in RAM anyway, what with it being volatile and all - some kind of flash storage will probably result in fewer tears.

      1. Stoneshop

        At 7 bytes per stored phone number

        You would need your own brain to augment this with a name to go with each of those numbers. You appear to be leaving off area codes as well, where they're actually mandatory for mobile calls.

        32 bytes would be the very minimum for a simple phone book entry, which would just about allow the name "Anonymous Coward" to appear next to your phone number including area code and international prefix.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: At 7 bytes per stored phone number

          "some sort of flash drive"

          My 2005 Moto RAZR could store numbers on the flash memory in the SIM card. Have you ever used an older, non-"smart" cell phone before? This is a common usage and config you claim as being a necessary new feature. Did you just arrive here from another planet? If so, welcome. Sorry for the mess, humans are a dirty and foul creature, but we think you'll learn to love them. And they taste just like chicken!

          1. dajames

            Re: At 7 bytes per stored phone number

            My 2005 Moto RAZR could store numbers on the flash memory in the SIM card.

            That's a standard piece of SIM card functionality. My 1995 Nokia could do it, and my current Android phone can do the same. It's not something I've ever felt the need to do on Android, though.

            The SIM card is more limited in the details it can store for each contact, though, IIRC you are limited to one number (and no other fields) per contact name, and the name is limited in length and stored in upper-case only. Hardly ideal.

        2. Jonathan 27

          Re: At 7 bytes per stored phone number

          Legends tell of a land called 'Murica, where 7 digit phone numbers are still a relevant thing.

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: At 7 bytes per stored phone number

            >My 2005 Moto RAZR could store numbers on the flash memory in the SIM card. Have you ever used an older, non-"smart" cell phone before?

            Oi, behave! :)

            SIMs could only store so many numbers - additional numbers would be stored on the phone itself, and in fact Nokia used this number capacity to differentiate between budget models like the 3210 and fancier models like the 6210 (if memory serves, 250 and 500 phone entries respectively, but don't quote me). This is common knowledge to anyone who has used "an older, non-smart cell phone", as you put it.

            I won't make a snarky comment about you not realising the number limit on your SIM - the 6210 came out when I was at university, and so I picked up more numbers than a more mature person (or indeed, an Orange SIM) would know what to do with. However, quality is more important than quality.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: At 7 bytes per stored phone number

            You can store two digits per byte, there's no need for signing. At 2 digits per byte, 7 bytes can hold a number string 14 digits long, enough for a full internationally diallable number.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: At 7 bytes per stored phone number

            > Legends tell of a land called 'Murica, where 7 digit phone numbers are still a relevant thing.

            The 20th Century called. It wants your misconceptions about places you've obviously never been back.

            To my knowledge, pretty much everywhere in the US requires you to dial the full 10 digits, and sometimes you need the 1 prefix on top of that, so 11 digits. There might be some places where you can still dial just 7 digits. I suspect those are mostly in the rural parts of Red States populated mostly with Trump voters who think the Earth is flat, the 1969 moon landing was a CIA fake job, and Steve Bannon really knows his shit.

        3. JulieM Silver badge

          Re: At 7 bytes per stored phone number

          Phone numbers only contain the digits 0-9, *, #, + and P, so you can cram 14 digits into 7 bytes. In fact you can use the same representation for + (IDD prefix, which only ever appears at the beginning of a number) and P (pause, which never appears at the beginning of a number).

          1. ThomH

            Re: At 7 bytes per stored phone number

            If there are only 13 options then you can store log13(2^56) digits, which is around 15.13.

            1. JulieM Silver badge

              Re: At 7 bytes per stored phone number

              You are the architect of the DECIMAL(m,n) number format used internally by MySQL (9 decimal digits packed into 32 binary digits) and I claim my £5.

  2. Bill Gates

    Imagine if there was an iPhone or Andoid phone that was HALF as rugged and had HALF as much battery life as these ancient Nokias.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Keep imagining! The beauty of the Noika interface was that you could memorize the key-combo to drill down to a feature or setting directly with just a few key presses, without having to start at the main menu and scroll around for it like a muggle. Don't try THAT with your touchy-screen "smartphone!" Only under Retro Hipster Tech-Daddy Supervision. Alright?

      You may also pronounce it "Tesh-Daddy" if you are a member of the Seva Team 6. Seva Team Rules, baby!

    2. Robin

      re: Imagine if...

      Imagine if there was an iPhone or Andoid phone that was HALF as rugged and had HALF as much battery life as these ancient Nokias.

      While Timmy and Jony continue being obsessed with thinness, that's never going to happen to the iPhone.

      I wonder if anyone ever thinks, "You know what I hate about this iPhone I have? It's so fucking THICK."

      Meanwhile, the one device that would actually benefit from being thinner is the Watch, yet the focus is on the ability to put a new strap on it.

  3. Locky

    Another Nokia mis-step

    They've chosen the wrong phone to bring back. If they'd gone for the 6310, they would have cleaned up

    I've probably still got a few car kits for them in the back of the comms room

    1. IDoNotThinkSo

      Re: Another Nokia mis-step

      I'm still using one!

      I have a 'smart' phone but when you are going somewhere that doesn't have power sockets every 50 yards, then it is by far the better option for making phone calls.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Another Nokia mis-step

        These days, what other choice do you have if you want a mobile phone that Donald Trump can't compromise and force to display his twitter feed?

        1. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: Another Nokia mis-step

          I'd buy one, just for the pleasure of taking it thru US customs. Let's see the TSA idiots try to squeeze information out of that. Or even figure out how to operate it...

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Another Nokia mis-step

            Do you think they have pop port connector?

            I think I've still got a pop port to USB cable somewhere, maybe I'll let them borrow it.

    2. davidp231

      Re: Another Nokia mis-step

      Add to the fact you could snaffle the battery from a 5110 (nk402), 6110 (nk702), 7110 (Jack Bauer's first phone in 24) and 6210, and use the car hands free kit for those models.

    3. Baldy50

      Re: Another Nokia mis-step

      Me too, 8310 was OK as well.

      Just makes me laugh, friends, desperately trying to get it charged and I say "don't give a shit, did mine 6 days ago"!

    4. Speeednet

      Re: Another Nokia mis-step

      I still use one, have a car kit and about three spares. They are still fetching £50 and well worth it.

  4. Jan 0 Silver badge

    External antenna! (Aerial)

    I see the 3310 has a socket for an external antenna. That would be extremely useful in a home with external insulation using foil wrapped foam and steel mesh tracking. Bring it on!

    1. davidp231

      Re: External antenna! (Aerial)

      For the Nokia car kit with external aerial.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: External antenna! (Aerial)

        Many Nokia phones of that era had ports for external antenna, even if they were covered by a rubber bung. If you look at the side of the phones, you'll spot two triangular indentations on each side... again, for 'snapping' into car docks. The exposed rails on the underside of the phone? Ditto.

        Now, I've never advocated full on modularity for phones, (a la Project Ara), but some move towards common power / data / mechanical retention would be handy.

    2. Ogi

      Re: External antenna! (Aerial)

      > I see the 3310 has a socket for an external antenna. That would be extremely useful in a home with external insulation using foil wrapped foam and steel mesh tracking. Bring it on!

      When I was in a particular office in the last place I worked, there was virtually no signal. I found out that Samsung S and Note phones still had the external antenna connector when most other phones long got rid of it. Used one of those with an external antenna and was the only guy in the office with signal.

      I still buy Samsungs partly for this reason, although I don't know if the new ones still have it. I stopped looking at them when they made the battery fixed, I suspect you can't get the back off of them either anymore.

      ( Just checked, and my Samsung S4 still has the external antenna connectors. )

      If it was up to me, I would love the N900 back, or a Nokia communicator type phone. However I don't think that is likely.

  5. EddieD

    I still have mine

    Slight more advanced than most users quotes - I was late (and reluctant) to join the mobile age, but my 6610i still works wonders - when I lost my Lumia last August, O2 sent me a replacement SIM, I slipped it into the trusty beast, and powered it up - within 30s, it was powered up - it briefly asked for time and date, but before I could enter the data, it had them from the network and was ready to go.

    And it can run for at least a weak between charges in daily use, and hold its charge for a very long time if switched off.

    OTOH, it doesn't have a 19mega pixel camera...

  6. Alister

    Selling Point

    For me, the one thing that made Nokia my phone of choice in the Nineties / Noughties was the quality of the GUI, not the pixel value or anything like that, but just the intuitive way the menus and settings were laid out, requiring minimum key-presses to get to what you needed and back again.

    It was obvious that an awful lot of time had been spent by the UI designers in making it as easy to use as possible.

    Any modern Nokia will I suppose, be stuck with the crappy Android UI, but it would be a great thing if a Nokia skin could be developed which followed their old traditions.

  7. kmac499

    So here's a thought, A dual boot phone of sorts.

    Mode1 A full featured Android phone

    Mode2 A 3310 mock up using the touch screen but with all the other goodies turned off...

    1. Tony Jarvie

      Already exists...sort of.

      On my Sony Xperia, there's an "Ultra Stamina" mode in the battery settings which, upon restarting, will restrict the phone to the most basic features. It says "Internet connection via wifi and mobile data will be disabled". And the only apps available are; phone, contacts, messaging, camera, album (I guess so you can view the photos from the camera), Calendar, Calendar (yes, it's listed twice, must be an error by the devs!) Clock, calculator, FM Radio, Settings, music. So, pretty much a 3310 but with a decent camera and music player.

      1. Triggerfish

        Re: Already exists...sort of.

        I've made great use of the stamina mode while travelling as I used my Experia for GPS when biking around, things like that,so it lived in stamina mode then got fired up with GPS etc when I had to check maps, use translate that sort of stuff. It's fantastic and you could get a good day and a half , two days use out if it by swapping between that and full fat when you needed it.

        But it's not like an old dumb phone my old razr used to last for days on end and could also take hell of a beating. 3310 you could use as a temporary doorstop or hammer and still not have to look for a charger for at least a week.

        However a smart phone has certainly made travelling abroad far easier in many ways, not sure I could go back to dumb so easily now.

  8. J. R. Hartley


    It's going to be shit, isnt it.

  9. Jonathan 27

    What's a filofax? No seriously, I've never even heard of that. I'm going straight to Wikipedia to look it up

    1. davidp231

      Lotus Organiser, in paper form.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      a filofax is a piece of paper sent electronically encrusted in pastry.

  10. getHandle

    The 3210 was so much cooler than the 3310

    As a 3310 owner I was disappointed that it was so much chunkier than than the 3210. Damn you Nokia! Then I had a 7650 and everything was right with the world ;-)

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: The 3210 was so much cooler than the 3310

      You might think the 3210 was small but you could lose the 8210 in your ear.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: The 3210 was so much cooler than the 3310

        If you rewatch the original Zoolander, one joke made at the fashion elite is that they have tiny phones (as that was the real trend when the movie was made). Poor Derek Zoolander is using a phone about the size of a matchbook.

  11. VicMortimer Silver badge

    Ugh. Dumbphones were awful back then, I never want one again. (No, they're not called "featurephones" - they're called dumbphones.) You could call them "lack of features phones" I suppose.

    And a Filofax is a calendar for people too dumb to use computers.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      back then they were absolutely awesome.

      Come to think of it... they still are.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      A machete only has one function, but it performs it better than any Swiss army knife. However, it's useless if you need a pair of tweezers or a corkscrew.

      Horses for courses.

      I dare say that some people here might want a Nokia 6210 but with the ability to bridge 4G to WiFi so they can use a tablet.... but hey, we get all sorts of lovely perverts around here!

      1. Rob Daglish

        Brilliant, that would be incredible. Especially if it had a physical switch on the side of the phone to toggle the bridge on and off, I'd be first in line for it.

  12. Rol

    I'm waiting..

    ..for the 3310 smarti to come out, before I dip my toe into buying a smartphone.

    It will look exactly the same, and have the exact same interface, in fact the only external difference will be the torch doubles as a projector, or projectIT as my fat elbowing so cleverly called it.

    This will enable my tired old eyes to see an enlarged GUI and my fumbling fingers to swipe and prod their way to blissful engagement with the world.

    The tech exists, they just need to get it to fit in my pocket.

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    1. keithpeter Silver badge


      Nokia 3120 (the original small silver S40(?) phone with the colour display, not the later 3120 classic) was the employer-issued phone I used a lot when I had to do deals/negotiations. Twas on an Orange business contract I recollect. Plenty of money/business went through that phone. Never managed to get hold of a data cable alas for calendar sync.

      Still works fine, has a t-mobile vintage payg sim in it and is used for emergencies at home.

      31 day battery life sounds interesting so may look at the retro offering.

      Coat: mine's the one with that very small phone pocked sown into the lining...

  15. Down not across


    I'd like a slightly updated communicator thank you very much. I still have my trusty old 9500 but something bit more modern would be nice. They did get pretty close with E7-00 but I do prefer the clamshell approach of the original Communicators. Can we keep Symbian (it wasn't without its faults, but did the job pretty well) and OPL as well.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Communicator

      I really liked the E7, and something similar, suitably updated, would be an excellent gadget.

      I know Nokia tried commendably hard to give Symbian some final polish (albeit while the torpedoes were already approaching the ship), but it is too far gone (and, I understand, too quirky for modern app development) to come back. I suspect that there is now little chance for a third player to carve out a practical niche, but if Sailfish OS or Ubuntu could somehow manage it, it would be nice to have an alternative to Android "for the masses".

  16. davcefai

    I miss my 3310. I hung on to it for as long as possible but when my last HP-95 palmtop gave up the ghost (they were >20yrs old and hand-me-downs) I had to move to a smart phone to try to achieve a similar functionality.

    After all a phone is to make phone calls with. And dropping it into the water or getting it wet on a boat only meant paying €35 for a new one. Today losing a smartphone can be a major tragedy and backing up the data is a total pain.

  17. Dan McIntyre

    I had a number of Nokias back in the day - 5110, 6110, 6230 and 6310i but the daddy was the 9000i communicator which was my first ever internet access, via Pipex dial up at 9600. Ahhhhh, those were the days....

  18. John Styles


    So, who's going to do the Psion 3 reboot next?

  19. Alan Edwards

    Resurrection wish list

    Can I add the Ericsson R520m and T39m to the resurrection list please.

    I reckon a T39m with 3G, modern Bluetooth that plays nicely with car kits, and maybe the spring-loaded keypad cover from the T28, would go down well.

    Bonus points if they can make it work with the MP3 player and radio add-on modules from back in the day.

    Makes me want to dig my 6310 and StarTac 85 out of storage, while the 2G networks are still running.

  20. Anonymous Coward
  21. darklord


    Awesome phone used to last a month on charge and 11 days with heavy usage, I have a lumia 640, what apiece of garbage. cheaply made, drop it and its toast, windows 8 is pants.

    so not much going for nokia now

  22. Stevie


    I hated that phone.

    Great reception, possibly the best I ever had, but the interface was complete bollocks, especially for the in-car user. Took forever to find my own phone number in the damn thing too (I'm one of those people who cannot remember their own cell phone number to save my life).

    Nokia should have made the screen a "press to pick up/hang up" button - with mechanical movement, not touch sensitive - too.

    On mine the screen started to grow digital moss before the phone was out of contract, so I treat the "indestructible" label with a pinch of salt.

    Motorola always had he easiest user interface in my experience, but the reception was terrible.

    Now of course the perceived wisdom is that people don't care about actual phone call quality so it is pants no matter which brand you go for or how many hundreds of dollars you are willing to fling at the vendor.

  23. pakman

    A really useful feature would be.....

    .... for a retro-style phone like this to be quad band (the ones that Nokia makes now are dual band only). Phones like this are great for going to places where a smartphone is too delicate, or too attractive to thieves, but not if the one you buy doesn't work in the country that you are going to visit.

    A bonus for the manufacturer would be that since these phones may only sell in small numbers, with quad band they would only need one hardware variant to cover the whole world.

  24. J.G.Harston Silver badge


    In the Slate article: "simple but infamously addictive game called Snake. (It had made its debut on another recent Nokia model, the 6110.)"

    Bollocks. I first played Snake on a BBC in 1983, and still have a copy of it.

  25. imanidiot Silver badge

    It won't be a 3310

    It'll be a hommage, which is to say a pispoor interpretation of what made the original so great. I've had a 3310 for a LONG time. Loved it too, but unfortunately the antenna cover came loose and by that time replacements were/are hard to find. I think the bad contact also damaged the radio system as reception started going bad towards the end. Still have the thing somewhere, together with the original charger.

  26. Mutton Jeff

    all well and good

    But I'd want a pair of sims on the same number, to avoid the fat finger fumble faff of moving between fonez.

  27. jonfr

    Basic phones

    They have to change the basic phones in the future. Since closure of 2G and 3G networks is about to start in the world. Everything is going LTE-A with Voice support in few years times. Basic phones continue have their usage, we don't all want a smart phone. Just a phone that works without a big screen on it.

  28. Speeednet

    Nokia 3310

    Why that model? IMHO the 6310i was the best mobile telephone ever made, now that would make sense.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just another cynical nostalgia cash-in

    There's hundreds of original cellphones on Ebay UK for about £20 with charger, so go get one, I see no point *at all* having something *look* like a classic cellphone then ruining it by sticking a crap bloated insecure overcomplicated OS on it.

    'Nokia' maybe releasing such a retro looking device is, to me, just a way of fooling you into paying exorbitant prices for what will be, at best, a mediocre, generic android phone in a 90's style case.

    You WILL get Android insecurity, bloat, complication and battery life issues,

    You will NOT get the solid 90's Nokia longevity, quality, toughness, simplicity and battery life

    and feel the old phones are highly regarded for.

    So what *do* you actually get ? - an Android phone in a 90s case with *none* of the things that made the 3220 type phones classics, and also you get all of the things that make smartphones suck.

    Modern suckiness in a old case.

    It's just a cynical cash-in from the new Masters of old classics, because the mainstream day-to-day Android/IOS junk is running out of excitement and new ideas to pull yet more ££ out of you.

    Market saturation, and everything that is old is new again comes back 'round.

    Time to stock up on those 90's TDMA Motorola bricks maybe ?

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