Hipsters are infamous for liking things “before they were cool,” but the old Nokia phones without apps, touchscreens, or Internet were truly cool before they were cool. Now, however, they are replacing smartphones as some consumers want to disconnect from the world a little bit more than the modern mobiles allow. Back in the day, these phones were cutting edge cell phone technology, soon to be replaced by the next latest thing. At the same time as some online retailers are selling the old brick phones with actual buttons on them, Nokia has introduced a new touchscreen phone that has some fascinating rumors attached to it. Now owned by Microsoft, the company is looking ahead to mobile technology that does even more than before. Nevertheless, the old indestructible Nokia phones are proving that even their popularity is indestructibly cool.
Basic text messages and basic phone calls are back in as consumers look to simplify their technology. As usual, grandparents everywhere are trying to find ways to connect with their tech-savvy kids and grandkids without creating more frustration for themselves. The old brick phones like the Nokia 3310 seem to be the perfect solution. Not only are they simple to understand, they are readable and easy to handle when typing out “LoL so fun love , grandma.” All anyone’s grandparents can say is, “Thank god these things still work.” Some might even throw in a, “Back in my day, phones had cords.”
The fascinating thing, however, is that people who are not grandparents are buying phones with keys. What is it that is driving people who actually know how to use a touchscreen to buy a phone that does not even take pictures? Some simply want a cheap second phone in case their far more fragile smartphone breaks or gets lost while it is on silent. In that case, one good option is a $90 Nokia 8210. It is no frills and no fuss, with not even a cool color option like teal or yellow. It is plain working and plain perfect if all someone wants to do is call the phone they have lost.
But there are other people who have a more philosophical approach to cell phone use. The world is increasingly connected to itself. The Internet has made it possible not just for people to connect easier and more frequently, but also for work to get a hold of its employees at any time of day. People sleep with their phones next to their beds in case of a call, whereas they used to only have one phone, on the wall, in the kitchen, and far away from sleeping ears. Smartphones also allow people to check their emails obsessively during their commute, dinner or even on the toilet. Still, some people want to cut down on the clutter in their heads by first cutting down the clutter on their phones. Having a bit more disconnection from the world is a way to preserve their sanity. From that perspective, an old Nokia brick phone is a means of creating peace in a busy life.
Finally, the hipsters have found yet another way to maintain their “before it was cool” edge on everyone else. Instead of putting their old keypad phones in the microwave and taking a video of it, the hipsters are (of all things) using them. Unlike grandparents or normal people, it may be that they just like the factor of having a phone from the previous millenium. After all, how many people can say that they use something from a thousand years ago? The attraction is so strong that some buyers have spent more than $1,000 for a piece of the past. Whatever the logic (or lack thereof) may be, even the hipsters seem to agree that old Nokia phones are indestructibly cool, as long as they are not put in the microwave to defrost.
While some consumers are going back to basics,the company that created those basics is looking forward to the future of smartphone software. After the technology giant Microsoft bought the company, the smartphones became increasingly colorful, Windows-driven, yet still indestructible. One video shows a reviewer hammering a nail into a piece of plywood with the screen and answering a call immediately after. Even the smartphones from Nokia will outlast a nuclear blast, it seems, but the software is the area in which improvement is forecast. The recently unveile d X2 is rumored to be able to dual-boot the Windows operating system and the Android operating system. Some are saying that this is a sign that Windows can no longer ignore Google’s wildly popular operating system, which has become a juggernaut, rivaling even Apple’s system. At the moment, however, there is no rumor about whether these phones will have the same lasting cool factor that the older ones have proven to enjoy.
In the world of mobile phones, the best phones are the ones that can be relied on in any situation. Smartphones have glass screens that are notorious for cracking at the slightest of taps. Despite the extra features, they still have their problems. They are also complicated and, in the case of someone’s grandmother who remembers when they used to call the operator to place a call, infinitely confusing. Thankfully, grandma has upgraded herself to the 20th century and is in the market to buy a brick, along with people who lose their phones and hipsters. In another fifty years, perhaps these groups will be upgrading once again to the X2, but for now they are comfortable in the last millenium. Still, the old Nokia phones have proven that they are indestructibly cool and for that, everyone applauds them.
Opinion by Lydia Bradbury