MWC 2018: Nokia reinvents iconic 8110 'Banana Phone' as used in The Matrix

Finland's HMD unveils latest models at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

David Phelan
Monday 26 February 2018 12:02
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Nokia unveils new smartphones

HMD Global is the Finnish company with the licence to make phones with the name Nokia. Last year, the canny release of an updated version of the classic 3310 wowed the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

This year, Nokia opened with another reworking of a popular phone, the 8110, aka the Banana Phone. A version of it became the Matrix phone that guided Keanu Reeves, with its spring-loaded keyboard cover.

This phone, now released in the same black as the original and a suitably fruity banana yellow, has a cover which you slide open and shut. And you probably will, it’s a slightly addictive movement.

Classic scene where Neo escapes from work in The Matrix

This is surely going to be as much of a statement phone as the 3310 last year, with battery life that lasts for weeks and significantly more capabilities than the original 8110. The 4G connectivity means you can makes calls over data, for instance. Apps will be added but to start with it includes Facebook, which is something to snag your attention and drain the phone’s battery.

But Nokia, though it sold 70 million phones last year, of which the majority were feature phones, needs to sell smartphones to survive.

The company has announced four, covering every pocket. Starting with Nokia 1, a budget smartie geared perfectly towards feature phone customers looking to upgrade to, you know, a touchscreen slab with Android apps.

This phone uses Android Oreo Go Edition, which is essentially a cleverly cut down version of the latest Android software, designed to take up less storage space and make fewer demands on a phone processor.

The Nokia 1 is an approachable phone with a soft, matte finish. The 4.5-inch display looks pretty decent for a phone this price, not least because it uses an IPS LCD screen, where rival cheapies often use a more basic screen technology that is less good for viewing angles.

Next up is the new Nokia 6, as distinct from last year’s Nokia 6. This phone looks great and has strong specifications, including a 5.5in display and 16-megapixel rear camera. It also has Zeiss optics on the camera and has the infamous Nokia Bothie – more formally called Dual-Sight technology – which shoots front and rear cameras simultaneously and pairs the resultant shots together.

Last year’s Nokia 7 has been augmented by the introduction of the Nokia 7 Plus which has a 6in display, twin rear cameras with Zeiss optics, a slick design and an aluminium body treated to look and feel like ceramic. This is a very cool phone.

Finally, the Nokia 8 Sirocco appeared, a special edition of last year’s Nokia 8 with a curved display, edges which are machined so they’re just 2mm thick at the edges, wireless charging and a strong stainless steel frame. This is a pricey phone but highly desirable and proof that you really can’t guess what Nokia is going to launch next.

The Nokia 8110 will be out in May but the other phones arrive a month earlier, in April.

Nokia is betting heavily that brand loyalty will see a lot of stickiness for products bearing its name, and providing paths for every user wanting to upgrade, for every pocket.

It’s a gamble, but the range and sheer quality of the announced phones is deeply impressive, so it’s a gamble that could work out.

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