Science & technology
Forget apps, old-school mobiles ring in a comeback
Publish Date: May 26, 2014
Forget apps, old-school mobiles ring in a comeback
An Ericsson mobile phone
  • mail
  • img
newvision


They fit in a pocket, have batteries that last all week and are almost indestructible: old-school Nokias, Ericssons and Motorolas are making a comeback as consumers tired of fragile and overly-wired smartphones go retro.


Forget apps, video calls and smiley faces, handsets like the Nokia 3310 or the Motorola StarTec 130 allows just basic text messaging and phone calls.

But demand for them is growing and some of these second-hand models are fetching prices as high as 1,000 euros a piece.

"Some people don't blink at the prices, we have models at more than 1,000 euros. The high prices are due to the difficulty in finding those models, which were limited editions in their time," said Djassem Haddad, who started the site vintagemobile.fr in 2009.

Haddad had been eyeing a niche market, but since last year, sales have taken off, he said.

Over the past two to three years, he has sold some 10,000 handsets, "with a real acceleration from the beginning of 2013".

"The ageing population is looking for simpler phones, while other consumers want a second cheap phone," he said.

Among the top-sellers on the website is the Nokia 8210, with a tiny monochrome screen and plastic buttons, at 59.99 euros.

Ironically, the trend is just starting as the telecommunications industry consigns such handsets to the recycling bins, hailing smartphones as the way ahead.

Finnish giant Nokia, which was undisputedly the biggest mobile phone company before the advent of Apple's iPhone or Samsung's Galaxy, offloaded its handset division to Microsoft this year after failing to catch the smartphone wave.

But it was probably also the supposedly irreversible switch towards smartphone that has given the old school phone an unexpected boost.

- 'Back to basics' -

For Damien Douani, an expert on new technologies at FaDa agency, it is simply trendy now to be using the retro phone.

There is "a great sensation of finding an object that we knew during another era -- a little like paying for vintage sneakers that we couldn't afford when we were teenagers," Douani told AFP.

There is also "a logic of counter-culture in reaction to the over-connectedness of today's society, with disconnection being the current trend."

"That includes the need to return to what is essential and a basic telephone that is used only for making phone calls and sending SMSes," he added.

It is also about "being different. Today, everyone has a smartphone that looks just like another, while ten years ago, brands were much more creative".

It is a mostly high-end clientele that is shopping at French online shop Lekki, which sells "a range of vintage, revamped mobile phones".

 

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Microsoft launches free Windows 10 upgrade
Microsoft’s latest version of Windows operating system is finally here.The long-time leader in PC software launched its much-awaited Windows 10 on Wednesday in Nairobi Kenya....
LG Electronics posts 45% in Q2 net profit
South Korea's LG Electronics on Wednesday reported a 45 percent in its second-quarter net profit owing to sluggish smartphone sales and unfavourable currency rates....
Nissan
Nissan on Wednesday said its net profit for the three months to June soared 36.3 percent to $1.3 billion on strong sales in North America and Europe....
Toyota falls behind VW in world
Toyota has fallen behind Volkswagen in the race for the world's biggest automaker title, figures showed Tuesday, as the German giant outsold its Japanese rival in the first half of the year....
Google throttles back vision for its social network
Google on Monday said it is throttling back on its vision of having profiles at its social network serve as people's identities across its range of online offerings....
Toshiba scandal exposes Japan Inc.
Toshiba's billion-dollar accounting scandal has shone a light on a corporate culture in Japan still beset by collusion in its senior ranks, unquestioning employees and poor external controls, experts say....
Should faith based organisations be registered as Non-government organisations?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter