With the launch of the revamped Nokia 3310 (2017) in Finland on Wednesday, HMD Global may be hoping that a wave of memories will help revive the company's fortunes in its home land. But the company will have to take a completely different approach to boost the brand in Africa as people across the continent were never really hung up on the older and simpler version of the new 3310.
With a price tag of 49 euros ($52), the updated Nokia 3310 is offered in red, dark blue, yellow and grey colours in an attempt to give the iconic phone a fresh look. To entice consumers even further, the company has also incorporated the classic Snake game into the phone, which is claimed to offer 22 hours of talk time and up to one month of standby time.
In Finland, the initial demand for the new Nokia 3310 appears to be strong, with the country's largest telecom operator Elisa reportedly saying that the first batch of the phone was fully pre-ordered.
"In the UK, initial sales have been very strong, and that's a pretty good achievement because this is a very basic phone, it doesn't even have Wi-Fi on it," Ben Wood, an analyst at CCS Insight, told Reuters.
While the jazzed-up Nokia 3310 will likely make Europeans breathe a fresh air of nostalgia, in Africa it's nothing but a costly replication of the old "brick," which was the world's most popular device in 2000, despite being a basic talk and text phone.
The old Nokia 3310 still remains the widely-used device for communication in Africa, where smartphones are yet to become a mainstream device. According to a 2016 study by the Pew Research Centre, one in three handsets in South Africa is a smartphone while it's one in four in Nigeria.
Although the new Nokia 3310 comes with impressive durability and weeks-long battery life – something that Africans have always been in love with, its relatively expensive price tag has apparently prompted many Africans to refrain from upgrades.
In South Africa, the new Nokia 3310 dark blue model is now available for purchase from Cell for R749 ($57.30), while it will also be available from MTN from mid-June for R699 ($53.50).
In Nigeria, the new Nokia 3310 is available at various retail outlets for N18,000 ($57).
However, it's too early to gauge Nokia's future in Africa based on the initial response to Nokia 3310, because the phone is just a reminder for the brand's existence.
Relaunching the Nokia 3310 is seen as part of the company's strategy to let the world know that the brand Nokia has not faded away. With three new Android-powered Nokia smartphones, including Nokia 6, Nokia 5 and Nokia 3, due to go on sale worldwide sometime this month, the reincarnation of the iconic Nokia 3310 is expected to increase consumers' appetite.