Nokia starts post-Microsoft reboot with a ‘dumb’ phone

The phone brand’s new owner is pitching Nokia’s glory days before the smartphone era, releasing an updated take on a feature phone that debuted in 2000.

The company that owns the rights to the Nokia phone brand is going old school, releasing an updated take on a feature phone that predates the smartphone revolution.

The new Nokia, which is owned by private equity-controlled HMD Global, unveiled an updated Nokia 3310 before this week’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) trade show in Barcelona. The first model of that phone was released in 2000.

The updated version comes with the classic “Snake” game, promises a battery that lasts a month on standby, and comes in flashier colors than the original subdued gray-and-blue edition. It will be available beginning in the second quarter, starting at 49 euros ($52).

Alas, the phone, tied to 2G mobile networks, won’t browse the web very fast. And forget about GPS navigation or smartphone-type apps.

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The original 3310 was released when Nokia was the No. 1 mobile-phone brand in the world, before Apple’s iPhone and devices running Google’s Android made smartphones a must-have.

MWC, the venue for many major mobile-technology announcements, marks Nokia’s return to the scene after the disastrous two years that Microsoft controlled Nokia’s handset unit.

Microsoft laid off most of the Nokia employees that came with the $7.9 billion, 2014 deal to buy the Finnish company’s handset unit, wrote down virtually the entire value of the deal and shuttered factories from China to Hungary.

The Redmond company in May sold HMD Global the rights to make Nokia feature phones like the 3310 that lack smartphone-like capabilities, for $350 million.

HMD also licensed the Nokia brand name from the Finnish company for use on smartphones and tablets, and MWC marks the debut of three…

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