Nokia 3310: Thinking the unthinkable. Are smartphones really necessary?
Think the unthinkable. Think a small, no-nonsense phone that fits easily in the pocket and needs charging just once a month. Is the new Nokia 3310, a regurgitation of the all-time favourite, such a bad idea?
I’ve been saying for years that I don’t regard my iPhone as a phone. I make or receive voice calls infrequently, but the device is in use as a tablet computer almost constantly. That's why I have the 7 Plus rather than the iPhone 7; I think of it primarily as a small tablet computer. Which is exactly what it is. I use it for reading news, writing and organising my life. Whether it’s a to-do list, a spreadsheet or a reminder, the iPhone is where I do most of my work.
Yes, I still need to make or receive the occasional call. A really tiny phone such as the new Nokia (I have fond memories of its grandfather) could fit the bill. I wouldn't use it much, but it would be there for emergency and the odd chat. Instead of the iPhone 7 Plus could buy a small tablet, offering a bigger working area and a generally more pleasant experience.
There’s a certain perverse attraction to a tiny communications device that costs under £50.
There is also a perverse reason for not allowing tablets to make phone calls. Apple knows this. It is perfectly possible to add a voice-calling facility to any iPad — the SIM card slot is already there if you choose the option — but the device is software-hobbled to prevent calls. Once Apple permitted calls and SMS traffic on iPads they would lose sales of iPhones. Perish the thought.
For me, though, the importance of phone calls is already minimal. And the arrival of VOIP calling further removes the usefulness of standard phone calls.
The new Nokia 3310 could just be the tipping point. I believe that in the future we will see a sundering of the all-in-one smartphone device. Instead we will welcome the the emergence of small tablets for general on-the-move computing backed up by a tiny, long-lasting phone such as the Nokia.
What do you think? Do you use a phone enough to justify having both smartphone and tablet? Would a tiny Nokia give you the freedom to use a tablet exclusively for non-phone activities?