Is Nokia bringing back the 3310 and who would want a retro phone?

Nokia 3310

Rumours suggest that Nokia are planning to bring back their iconic 3310 phone.

Mobile users of a certain age have been getting very excited on social media about the return of this sturdy, reliable handset.

If you were in the market for a new phone in the year 2000, then the 3310 may have been on your wish-list.

But when Newsbeat contacted Nokia about the rumours, the company refused to comment.

"Though we're as excited as everyone else to hear their news, as we have often said about such stories, we do not comment on rumour or speculation," a spokesperson tells us.

Nokia phones
Image caption If you ever owned one of these phones then the return of the 3310 may be exciting news to you

It may seem unlikely in the world of Android and iPhones that anyone would want a 17-year-old handset that was best known for playing Snake, but the experts believe there is a place in the market.

"I'm fairly confident my grandmother could use a 3310, but she wouldn't know where to start with an iPhone or Android," Alistair Charlton, deputy technology editor at the IB Times, tells Newsbeat.

"You can take a £20 phone to a festival and leave your expensive, glass-fronted iPhone at home.

"Backpackers and the like probably appreciate them too, given their tough build, cheap price and long battery life."

Many smartphone users complain about their handset's battery and this could prove the main selling point for users.

"What an interest in the 3310 does show us though is that battery life is still a major concern for consumers, and one that's not being well-addressed by some smart phones, namely the iPhone," Elizabeth Varley, founder and CEO of tech community TechHub, tells Newsbeat.

And let's not forget, when Adele revealed the video for Hello back in 2015, she was seen in it making a call on a retro flip phone - not a smart device.

Around that time, the media reported a rise in people seeking old phones, as the 1990s were firmly back in fashion and people like Rihanna were walking round chatting on a chunky mobile.

So it's not just a phone for drug dealers, as many Twitter users seem to think.

Alistair also backs the author of the original source of the 3310 rumours, VentureBeat writer Evan Blass, as a credible source for technology leaks.

He describes the journalist as "a renowned tech leaker who is often accurate with his predictions."

But Alistair also says that to succeed in the current market, Nokia will need to update the 3310's basic features to be relevant in 2017.

"We don't communicate through calls and SMS as much as we did in the days of the 3310," he says.

"If it had an internet connection and access to WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, then maybe it has a place."

But Elizabeth Varley doesn't believe Nokia's future can be built on models from the past.

"The best way forward is rarely backwards," she says.

"To really compete, innovation is the key."

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