A new version of Nokia 8110, which became iconic with its distinctive curved shape and being featured in the 1999-movie the Matrix was launched on Sunday.
The Nokia 8110 was first released in 1996 and often referred to as the "banana phone" due to its distinctive curved shape. The latest remake Nokia 8110 with 4G debuted at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain. The phone has a black and yellow version and a slider that is similar to the one on the original phone.
A start-up made of ex-Nokia executives called HMD Global acquired the intellectual property rights required to make phones from Nokia in 2016, which included branding and technology. HMD launched a remake of the Nokia 3310 and a portfolio of smartphones last year.
The 8110 will run an operating system known as Kai OS. In addition to the 4G feature, the phone also has a camera and can be used as a WiFi hotspot for your laptop or main smartphone. It will have a primitive version of Facebook and Facebook Messenger but it won't have WhatsApp.
HMD Global is working with Google and Facebook to bring additional apps to the device, Florian Seiche, CEO of HMD Global, said. The phone will be available from May and cost 79 euros ($97).
Feature phones are still popular
According to data from CCS Insight, in 2017, 480 million feature phones were shipped, which shows that in many markets, feature phones are still popular. The number is expected to decrease to 400 million this year, but it still remains an important market.
The 8110 could appeal to people in Western markets looking for a secondary device, Seiche said.
"Nokia had these very iconic design legends and different people remember the 8110 for different reasons — but, certainly it's a lot about that emotional factor," he said. "But, actually it is also in Western markets, it's more as a lifestyle secondary phone and bringing it with 4G and Wi-Fi and some key apps people use everyday, it can now be a true secondary device. But in some of the emerging markets, it is still a primary device."
Follows release of Nokia 3310
The release of the Nokia 3310 in 2017 created a lot of headlines and excitement about the “return of Nokia” and helped draw attention to the brand.
The 8110 is expected to have a similar effect, according to analysts. "I think that is a good move by them. What is different this year is that this a 4G feature phone and that will be important in terms of getting operators to support it. With the 3310, there was excitement from consumers, but when you came to use it there was a lot of shortcomings," Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight, said.
"The 8110 will be at the high end in terms of pricing of feature phones. You can buy a 4G feature phone from other companies for cheaper. This is more a design icon that will grab the headlines."
Nokia also launched a new range of smartphones at MWC on Sunday.