Before the dawn of smartphones, before Steve Jobs unleashed the iPhone, before the emergence of Android, before apps, Wi-Fi and all that fancy stuff, there was the plucky telecommunications company from Finland (not Japan) named Nokia, the one-time king of mobile phone vendors. They’re still around today, but no longer influential in the electronic world ruled by Apple, Samsung, and other global brands. But there’s actually some significant nostalgia for the mobile handsets manufactured by Nokia, in particular the 3310.

Once, this small yet toughly built unit was all the rage in mobile phones the world over, but those days have ended.

Or have they? Nokia itself may no longer manufacture cellphones after being overwhelmed by more complex smartphones, but nearly two decades after the nigh-ubiquitous Nokia 3310 graced the market, it's finally come back.

A Steve Jobs moment

The major news of the 3310's return was made at the ongoing Mobile World Congress (Mwc) in Barcelona, Spain. Normally smartphone regulars like Apple, Lenovo, Samsung and Huawei will hold court in this event, now Finnish start-up firm HMD Global, which has brought license from Nokia for the 3310, is ready to wow the world once more with sheer fond memories and an appeal for simpler times. As tech consultant Ben Wood from CCS Insight puts it, "The 3310 was the first mass-market mobile and there's a massive amount of nostalgia and affection for it."

As strongly implied, the new/old Nokia 3310 is not a smartphone.

It eschews current standards like 4G internet for 2.5G, a S30+ mobile OS that's a relic compared to iOS or Android, and only one 2-megapixel camera. The good news is, unlike the original 3310 this phone is capable of using microSD memory cards (32GB max), and due to not having powerful hardware to run, the battery can go on standby without any action for a month, or talk in call for 22 hours straight.

The larger display is nice too. And it's got a revamp of the oldie but goodie Nokia game "Snake", for all the long-winded fun of the past.

Accessory phone

The good thing about the revived Nokia 3310's stripped-down features would most definitely be the price: just around $50. It's definitely a bargain if you ask HMD Global's CEO Arto Nummela, who calls their licensed product a "digital detox phone", for a less tech-heavy experience.

"If you want to switch off to an extent but you still need to have a [mobile] lifeline, it's a brilliant solution," he adds.

In addition to the 3310 re-issue, HMD Global also introduced during the MWC some other Nokia-branded Android phones that they've created, for those who are content with the latest features. But the classic mobile phone was undoubtedly the star of the show.