back to article Omg, that is, like, sooo 2007... Retromania set to grip this year's MWC

Hold the front page! Nokia's launching a bunch of new phones this weekend, and everyone is very excited. So is BlackBerry. The founder of CrackBerry.com thinks it's the most exciting event in years. Perhaps you fell into a deep coma in 2007 and have just woken up. Was the last decade all just a horrible dream? No. It's just …

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Unhappy

I suspect most of us are at the point where the phone we have is not the problem: it's the piss-poor mobile data connectivity that app/web-site/phone designers seem to be oblivious to.

As for what might work in the modern age: a genuinely secured phone, which would require a genuinely secured browser (not going to happen) pus a genuinely secure/robust means to run 3rd party apps (also not going to happen). So more of the same then.

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"I suspect most of us are at the point where the phone we have is not the problem: it's the piss-poor mobile data connectivity that app/web-site/phone designers seem to be oblivious to."

I'm not sure about app/web-site/phone designers being oblivious to the mobile data problems. My bigger concern is that the mobile data problems everyone seems to have are intentionally being put in place by the networks. My 3G used to be great, browsing was fast and easy - until 4G came along. Then the networks seemed to purposefully degrade the 3G network, forcing people to upgrade (devices and contracts) and use the 4G network. Only the 4G network is crap, to describe it as patchy would be generous. I live and work in London and I don't have a 4G connection more than I do and the same goes for my friends and colleagues - on all flavours of device/OS/network.

The mobile phone networks are taking us all for a ride.

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(@ GingerOne)

Then the networks seemed to purposefully degrade the 3G network.

I read in some online discussion that this was due to cell saturation, as telcos stopped deploying 3G towers and old users' data consumption was still increasing steadily year over year.

But on the other hand, this could be also described as under-provisioning by the telcos, with the added benefit for said telcos of pushing customers into new, more expensive contracts.

"The mobile phone networks are taking us all for a ride."

Same old, same old... :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: (@ GingerOne)

I know everyone likes to beat up on the carriers, but they are not always at fault. I work with some of them. They would dearly love to blanket every last drop of the country in luxurious, dripping wet 4G, because they have years of evidence that shows that 4G users slurp up more data than 3G, and data = $$. To cite one carrier, data usage has increased 100,000% between 2007 and 2015.

But guess what. No one likes a cell tower in their backyard. Or near their school. Or next to their bus stop. And those high frequencies don't travel so well. So they are stuck, turning up the knob to 11 on the towers that they have, investing in in-building systems and plugging voice over wifi in an attempt to offload cells.

The inventor that comes up with a street-cabinet sized cell tower solution is going to be one rich bunny. Maybe it will be Facebook?

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I'm agog with indifference...

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It isn't so much the phone designs that are problematic, it is the UX implementations imho.

Regular android updates, especially relating to security, and android itself missing a few tricks like the horrendous UI design choices. White background, really? Even silly things like a notification light not being present (or present on some but not used for notifications - Moto X) or even the ability to set the entire screen to work in shades of red - night mode anyone? There is wealth of users who would find such small features invaluable.

I like the voice feature on the Moto X. I can dial a call without touching it at all, except that call then isn't in speaker mode - huh?

An complete lack of joined up thinking marrs the devices.

Battery shelf life we are already aware of - because we no longer keep phones longer than 2 years we don't complain about it so much so we don't shout so much about replacable. But you know what? We would if they were updated longer and more regularly. Screw it - I would even subscribe to get updates if after X months it wasn't going to get more updates.

So - I DO want to see the Mercury. Qwerty with touchiness is always good. I am excited about this, the passport was one of the best phone experiences I have ever had aside from a few choice apps which i couldn't get from the horrible implementation into the Amazon store. I would like to see a new 3310 that still allowed decent email client, and wifi, and the traditional Nokia voice quality, but lots of 'Reg units' of battery life. I would take this with me places.

I am fairly fed up of 'Here go - all shiney' followed by 'Yeah - no longer shiney' within months and no support to follow, or worse, broken promises of support. This is what blackberry are tackling; I think they will do well.

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Nokia vs. Nokia

I'm not sure how they handled it MWC, but the article could be a bit clearer that the Nokia that owns Withings is different to the Nokia (actually HMD Global) releasing phones.

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Ogi
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"Having a reliable 50Mbps to 100Mbps up and down connection is a game changer. Yes, we'll get all the old jokes about burning through your data bundle in a blink of an eye. But it's about getting that high bandwidth connection quickly."

50-100Mbps? Yeah, if you the the only person on that cell tower, and you have strong signal, and nothing is in the way to scatter. Not to mention, how long will your battery last when doing transmit/receive at those rates? 4G already uses more than 3G, that uses more than 2G, etc...

I can see 50-100Mbps in laboratory conditions, but I would be amazed if you could get that in heavily congested urban spots with walls and other obstacles reflecting everywhere.

Hell, my home wifi can apparently do "200Mbps" but it was transferring files this morning at a pedestrian 13mbit/s, and that is an in an apartment block (loads of other APs around) and one drywall away (so a big of signal degradation). Sure, in ideal/lab conditions I could imagine seeing close to 100-200Mbps, but in the real world it just doesn't happen.

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If there's only one dry wall in the way

Then Ethernet is your friend.

I'm assuming your talking laptop / base unit here by your comment.

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Says it all about smartwatches

The two use cases suggested — discreet step counting plus a buzz whenever I receive a message — are just about all I am interested in. But then why would I buy a smartwatch at all?

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3210 and 3310 were *the* milllennial phones!

"I'm not sure few people under 40 will see what the fuss is about. Millennials don't do voice much anyway, and there isn't much else a 3310 (retro or otherwise) can do well."

On the contrary- yes, they were a long time ago, but you forget that the first "millennials" hit their late teens well over seventeen years ago (#) and that the original Nokia 3210- and then the 3310- were *the* archetypal "first wave millennial" phones.

The 3210 was one of the first phones aimed at- and massively successful with- the younger end of the market- i.e. late teens and young professionals- being both affordable and stylish (for the time) (##), and the 3310 was pretty much a continuation of that.

Of course, this was around the time that texting was becoming popular, and that was probably as important as voice- an early sign from the early millennials that, yes, voice wasn't the be all and end all and an indication of how things would go. But in dismissing the 3210 as only being good at "voice", you forget that- again- the 3210 and 3310 were incredibly popular with those same texting teens and students.

All that said, the alleged revival of the 3310 seems like a lazy attempt to exploit nostalgia. Things have moved on. It just wouldn't fit into today's market in that form as-is, and even if you were to slap on a colour display, it'd still just be a feature phone by today's standards - like the Samsung my tech-disinterested Mum got for a tenner- if it remotely resembled the original. And if it didn't, it's not a 3310, is it?

(#) Assuming we take the most common definition being those born between 1982 and 2000. While I've never seen the term "millennial" explained, I'd always assumed it came from the fact those people would be hitting nominal adulthood- i.e. 18 years or so- at or after the turn of the millennium.

(##) Personally, I always thought the 3210 looked much nicer than the 3310. Also, Wikipedia claims the 3210 sold 160m vs. 126m for the 3310, though I'd have assumed the 3310 would have sold more. I'm surprised that the 3310 seems to get more nostalgia than the 3210 regardless, as it was really just a follow-on from the latter.

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Ogi
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Re: 3210 and 3310 were *the* milllennial phones!

The 3210 was my first ever phone, given as a present for my 14th Birthday.

It also came with multiple covers you could switch around, and you could go down the local corner shop and buy any one of the covers in all kinds of wild designs and colours. Although I was a boring nerd that never got invited to parties, so just kept the original grey with "Vodafone" at the bottom.

Aaaah, memories *sniff*

Saying that, I would possibly be interested in something like that again. I am tending away from smartphones, and thinking more a dumbphone with good connectivity which I can tether to my laptop, or a tablet, when I need apps or something fancier. Something with long battery life, solid build, simple (and secure) firmware, and no apps (that I can use the tablet for).

Next time I am in the market for a phone, I may look at the "featurephones". If it has a removable battery, voice/SMS and fast bluetooth for tethering, then it will be good enough for me.

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Nokia and android...

So years ago when Nokia still made smartphones, there was much despair at their choice to go exclusively to Windows as an OS and not become one of the many other manufacturers releasing android phones. Some thought that they needed to differentiate from the other android makers and that WP was pretty good - others thought that WP had no apps or interest and all that was holding Nokia back was the software.

It will be interesting to see how it plays out with HMD now making android phones under the Nokia brand...

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There's still a market for dumbphones

e.g. my better half. Some people are happy with a phone that simply works as a phone (and does SMS at a pinch), with a battery that lasts for a couple of weeks. I'm not sure there's scope for a premium dumbphone (which is what I presume Nokia's offering will be).

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Re: There's still a market for dumbphones

Phones don't cost anything like their retail price to make, but the do cost money to sell and if you sell cheap ones, you aren't selling high-margin ones.

The problem is, if you go cheap now, you'll be subsidising the network usage of the more expensive phones.

Check out Telstra's BYO / PAYG plans... not that different from getting a phone with it.

Intel have nothing to lose in mobile, it would be nice if they could put together a standard for phone hardware which allowed both ARM and x86 chips to interface with common phone hardware.

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TMA

MWC, PDA, CCS, HMD, TCL, AR, VR, HTC, LG, OLED, LTE

Ok. I recognise most of the unnecessary acronyms in this article. But HMD? What's that? Why is it just dropped into the article without explanation?

And would it be ok if we just assume that this article is not having to fit in a tweet and can use grown up, full words sometimes?

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Facepalm

Re: TMA

I don't think 'HMD' is a TLA, it's just HMD Global (who own the rights to Nokia Mobile).

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Angel

An outstanding display of modesty!

"Being a highly intelligent fellow, Ben's predictions lined up remarkably closely with ours."

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Re: An outstanding display of modesty!

"The measure of a man's intelligence is in how much he agrees with me."

Brief bit of on-line searching fails to turn up an original source of this quote... it could be my memory has mangled it a bit.

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