Is Nokia’s New Phone Sending Us Back to the Future?

After rereleasing the 3310 – that brick-like phone that every teenager had in the late nineties that got us all addicted to Snake – Nokia now has plans to bring back the ‘banana’ mobile from The Matrix

Image credit: Arstechnica

By now we’re all thoroughly aware of the power of nostalgia in consumer culture. Between the reintroduction of Time Zone to shopping malls, and the rereleases of platform videogames like Crash Bandicoot you’d have to be living under ten layers of rock not to see the nostalgic trip that everyone is riding.

While I myself take no issue with the past reemerging in the present there are some retro ideas that are floating around that have got me thinking that one day, we’re just going to disappear up our own arses by continually chasing what’s behind us. Since when did technology become about the past rather than the future?

Last year Nokia rereleased the 3310, but of course it was an updated version so that people could still use Facebook and Twitter. From May this year, you can take a trip back to 1999 with the Slider – or ‘banana’ phone. You know the one: it folds out into the size of your face and they used it in The Matrix. Sounds pretty cool.

However, there are few disclaimers for those who like a multifunctional phone. Selfies are a no-go as the Slider’s camera only has 2 megapixels: bad news for ‘grammers. Also, because the phone is adhering to its past structure, it’s too small to be able to access any of the apps that we’re used to using. The parent company, HMD is in the process of creating a special app store that will include Facebook, but in terms of other social media and entertainment apps – including the ones that help you travel or handle your money – you may need to put your faith back in your laptop, trusty wallet, and ATMs.

Image credit: Tumblr

Have we become so science fiction that we now have nowhere to go but backwards? And if the flawed phones of the ‘90s are making a comeback what’s to stop the appearance of a clunky Commodore 64, or internet that requires you to unhook your phone-line and sit through ten minutes of dialup? Honestly I might be reading more into this then there actually is, but I have seen too many sci-fi movies to take this Slider rerelease without a grain of salt.

Besides, if retro really is the way technology’s going nowadays why are efforts being wasted on making replicants of a dumb ’90s mobile when they could be put towards more exciting ventures – like mass-producing the hover board! Seriously, October 21st 2015 has long gone and I have yet to see one hover board or rocket-powered board fly onto the shelves of my local Big W. And come to think of it, where’s the pink microwave that rehydrates pizzas? Flying cars, cardless cash payments by fingerprint, and TVs that allow you to watch all your favourite shows at once – clearly none of the technology Spielberg advocated in Back to the Future II has come to pass.

Perhaps Nokia’s rerelease of a phone famous for its memes is a steppingstone on the path to some retro sci-fi utopia that we’re heading towards. Maybe by turning around and dragging the outdated in front of us we won’t disappear into some retro-techno wormhole, but head further towards a world where hover boards are not just a prop from an ’80s movie. Let’s hope it’s the latter!

What are your thoughts on Nokia’s retro rereleases? Share them with us below!