Once upon a time, there was a phone like none other. The Nokia 3310! Don’t get me wrong, there were fancier flip phones and sleeker models, but the original Nokia held its own. With the return of Nokia comes back its nostalgic wonders.
The Nokia 3310 was not just a phone, it was a legend. The story goes that one could use it like Thor’s hammer and in a fit of rage could even destroy the earth. Unlike the smartphones nowadays, it followed its basic Dharma and karma i.e. make calls and text to people, let you play a game or two (like the legendary snake), and also let you set an alarm clock. It was not power hungry. One could go days without charging it; and unlike present smartphones, it didn’t let our sleep cycles and personal details on to the prying companies.
It was tough as hell. Another story says that once dropped from the fourth floor it would dig a hole in the earth, only to be scrambled off in pieces and to be assembled back as kindergarten puzzles.
Nokia once retired from the smartphone competition. Its return to the phone market is now trading on nostalgia; because old is marketing gold and one cannot teach old a new trick but can trick old into nostalgia.
One can argue that it was as recent as the year 2005, but that was an entirely different era for the mobile industry. Ever heard of the term “gone with the wind”? Exactly!
These days I-pods are collectibles, disc players and walkman are already antiques. Although the old had a richness never rivaled by the digital world, there’s little of a reason to mourn the death of arid floppy discs. After all, nostalgia cycles don’t move around the world at the same pace. Imagine there are people like me who still own a classic Nokia unmindful of its death.
Nostalgia is played out in the market. New technologies play their disruptions by recreating familiar things viz. design cues that evoke old objects inter alia software mimicking the look of the old things it has replaced. Primary examples being the settings icon that looks like a mechanical gear, notes app that looks like a yellow notepad and the mail icon as a postage stamp. Clicking a picture still fakes the whir and click of a shutter.
Technological nostalgia has a deeper meaning. Risky. People like me often refuse to accept that newer is automatically better. We cling to the stuff with possessiveness and give meaning to outdated objects. If we were sent back to the 1990’s would we be happy?