Nokia nostalgia: a look back with the popular Finnish mobile-maker

25 Apr 2014

With Nokia’s mobile devices division staring down the barrel of a major rebrand as its acquisition by Microsoft is finalised, we take a trip down memory lane with the iconic Finnish phone brand.

The US$7.1bn acquisition, rubber-stamped by Nokia shareholders in November and approved by the European Commission in December, was officially wrapped up today.

Following the deal, we will be waving goodbye to the Nokia mobile brand and saying hello to Microsoft Mobile in its place. A leaked memo to the existing Devices and Services business’ supplier base already claimed as much, though the well-known brand might not be completely wiped out.

According to Forbes, Nokia is retaining its brand name for itself should it decide to re-enter the mobile device market with a new offering, particularly in parts of the world where this brand is highly recognised.

Either way, the Microsoft acquisition marks a huge turning point for Nokia, which was once the world’s top mobile-phone maker. Feeling nostalgic for the day that’s in it, I asked the Silicon Republic team to share their Nokia memories.

Tina Costanza, production editor:

“When I first moved to Ireland (more than five years ago), the first phone I got was a Nokia. It was small (i.e. affordable); I can’t remember the model, though. I remember trying to text my friend after I got the phone and trying to adjust to typing out text on the small keys – I ended up sending my friend words that didn’t make sense by accident and all he texted back was, ‘Tina?’ The charger to the phone, too, was nearly as large as the phone itself!”

Nokia nostalgia

Ann O’Dea, CEO and editor-at-large:

“I remember getting my hands on the 7110 (with WAP capabilities – remember that?), with its neat little slider, and thinking phones had gotten pretty smart. But the greatest nostalgia, no matter which Nokia, has got to be for battery life. No need for a charger over an entire Electric Picnic weekend!”

Nokia nostalgia

Ann calls the 7110 ‘the Matrix phone’

Connor McKenna, AV manager:

“Pretending to play Snake on your mate’s Nokia 3310 while changing the name of Silent to Loud and vice versa. The 3510 remains my favourite phone, complete with polyphonic ringtone of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Can’t Stop.”

Nokia nostalgia

Connor’s coveted Nokia 3510

“I also remember putting WB (write back) at the end of a text and working on a building site in the early Noughties with a guy who had one of these builder’s phones. They had a torch! (Which didn’t flatten your battery in five minutes flat.)”

Nokia nostalgia

Colm Gorey, journalist:

“My abiding memory of Snake is from school when we had toilets in each of the classrooms and one of the guys in my class went in with his 3210. We could hear it bleep every few seconds followed by either ‘Yes!’, or ‘Crap!’ when he hit the wall. Safe to say he wasn’t the smartest guy in the class…”

Nokia nostalgia

The Nokia 6310 – according to Colm, ‘the most indestructible phone of all time’

“Finding basic HTML pages with the musical notes of pop songs at the time was a big thing for a while – for the people who couldn’t afford Crazy Frog and that guy shouting to answer your phone. Bad memories right there.”

Nokia nostalgia

Dearbhail Fahey, business development manager:

“The 5110 – my first phone! And I thought I was deadly. Has a way better battery life than the iPhone, even if it does weigh two stone. I also remember the awesome ringtones – ‘Kick’ was a personal favourite!”

Nokia nostalgia

Dearbhail’s first – the Nokia 5110

Luke Maxwell, AV MVP:

“Getting a phone with a pointless slidey uppy and downy case because I’m an idiot and I like The Matrix.”

Nokia nostalgia

“Also, this ringtone:”


Darren McAuliffe, publisher:

“When everybody thought their phone was ringing because we all had a Nokia.”


The evolution of the Nokia ringtone, with a bit of dubstep from DJ Valerio Alessandro Sizzi thrown in for good measure

Catherine Maguire, client services manager:

“My 3310 exploding into pieces on Grafton Street (in Dublin), putting it back together again and it working perfectly. It also had a load of Peter Rabbit stickers on it. Oh, and remember getting those screensavers or backgrounds?”

Nokia nostalgia

John Kennedy, editor:

“The 9000 Communicator – the original brick.”

Nokia nostalgia

This monster was all the rage in 1996

Elaine Burke, journalist:

“Rmbr wen u cud nly fit 160chars n a txt?”

Nokia nostalgia

What a rush…

“I figured Snake would figure a lot in Nokia memories but had forgotten about the dawn of the ringtone. A friend of mine who was a supremo piano player was able to use the composer to make us whatever riff or tune we wanted, which was pretty deadly!”


Sixteen original Nokia 3310 ringtones – more than eight minutes of Nokia heaven

What are some of your Nokia memories? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.