GENEVA — The Nokia 3310, the historic and so-very vintage cell phone that you could drop a hundred times without breaking, is back. And I've been wondering why I find that so cool, despite defining myself as a technology addict. I should be swearing only by the latest model of Apple iPhone, AI-powered robots, self-driving cars, automated payments, digital home automation.
Maybe this return of the dumb phone is just another trend. The marketing of ancient technology has already taken us through the sudden return of the 80s Casio watches worn by my male friends and vinyl records spun by my female friends. Not to mention old vegetables, Jerusalem artichokes and others, 60s-style stirrup pants and Abba remixes lighting up the dance floor on Saturday nights.
The old and the new — Photo: Benardine Roger
But ultimately, I don't think this is really about nostalgia, but rather about pace. It's got to do with the never-ending feeling of moving towards something we haven't asked for.
I feel novelty fatigue growing inside of me. I can feel it with my smartphone, the one that shows me real-time stock values, allows me to purchase everything without even touching the screen, to chat with thousands of people at the same time, the one that serves as my torchlight, my weatherman, my map, and guide and more. You have one too, you know what I'm talking about.
You also know that I can't live without it, though from time to time I'd also like to get a break. I'd also like for my phone to be just a phone, not something that ties me down, creates anxiety, becomes addiction. I wish I could spend more than five hours away from home without needing a charger.
Yes, I do believe I will get myself this old-new Nokia. I will give in to the novelty of an old-fashioned thing, but for $50, and maybe I'll feel like I'm 17 again, when having a cell phone felt incredibly good but hardly compulsory. Everyday life objects talk to us and sometimes even tell us what matters and what doesn't. What matters is who I call or who's calling me, who wants to have a drink or go to the movies. And not that piece of plastic inside my handbag.