The Story of the Nokia 3310, A Cult-Classic Gadget of the 2000s

There have been thousands of mobile phones that have been released over the years, but none is more iconic than the Nokia 3310, and even after years of its discontinuation, this particular phone is still quite popular because of the memes and jokes about its durability. To know more about this mobile phone, here is the story of the Nokia 3310, a cult-classic gadget of the 2000s.

Nokia Before the 3310

Nokia is a tech company that was established in 1865 in Tampere, Finland. The company was founded by a mining engineer named Frederik Idestam, along with businessmen Leo Mechelin and Eduard Polon. In 1865, Idestam established a pulp mill, a facility that converts wood chips into a thick fiberboard that is used for different purposes. Then, in 1871, Idestam and Mechelin formed a shared pulp mill company called “Nokia Ab,” which is named after the town of Nokia, where the company was headquartered. [1] Mechelin and Idestam’s company would eventually combine with the rubber business founded by Eduard Polon in the early 1900s.

For decades, Nokia has produced different kinds of products, including cables, rubber boots, and other items that are made of rubber. However, by the 1990s, the company decided to focus on telecommunications, particularly in the production of mobile phones.

The Design and Features of the Nokia 3310

a person holding a Nokia 3310

The Nokia 3310 is a discontinued GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) mobile phone that was first released on September 1, 2000. It served as the replacement for the Nokia 3210, a popular mobile phone that was released in March 1999.

The 3310 is one of Nokia’s best-selling mobile phones, as the company was able to sell 126 million units of the phone worldwide. The original 3310 units were produced in Finland and Hungary, while the variants, particularly the 3315, were produced in South Korea and sold in countries located within the Asia-Pacific region.

This particular mobile phone was designed to be sleeker, smaller, and lighter than the 3210, and it featured an 84 x 48-pixel pure monochrome display. In addition, the 3310 also had removable batteries that could either be NiMH (nickel metal hydride) or Li-ion (lithium-ion). Unlike the 3210, which has an asymmetrical design where the lower part of the phone is narrower than the upper part, the 3310 features a relatively symmetrical and rounded rectangular shape.

Much like the 3210, the 3310 is designed to be customizable, as users can change the exterior shell of the mobile phone to other shells with different colors and designs. Because of its customization options, the 3310 was fairly popular among the youth who wanted unique and sometimes colorful looks for their mobile phones. The interchangeable covers for the 3310 were called “Xpress-On” covers, and some of them were even designed by other companies besides Nokia.

A new feature that was added to the 3310 was the Chat function, wherein messages can be three times longer than the standard SMS text message. The longer messages allowed users to write better sentences so that the receiver of their messages would have a better understanding of what the users were saying. The Nokia 3310 also has voice dialing so that users would have a faster way of calling specific numbers on their phones.

Besides the Chat function, there are also other features like a stopwatch, a calculator, and a reminder function. There were also four games installed in the 3310, namely Space Impact, Snake II, Bantumi, and Pairs II. Space Impact and Snake II would become two of the most popular games published by Nokia for their mobile phones.

The Durability of the Nokia 3310

The casing or exterior shell of the Nokia 3310 is known by many for its durability, as it can withstand hits from various objects and falls at certain heights. The interior of the 3310 is also fairly durable, as there is also a shell in the interior that protects internal parts except the battery, which needs to be exposed in order for it to be easily changed.

While the Nokia 3310 was discontinued in 2005, the memes and jokes about its durability lived on in the 2000s and 2010s. There were internet memes that called the Nokia 3310 “the Nokia Brick” because of how it can be as durable and resilient as a brick. The apparent indestructibility of the Nokia 3310 also allowed people to make jokes about how the phone could survive nuclear explosions and other apocalyptic events.

To commemorate the popularity of the Nokia 3310, the government of Finland announced that the Nokia 3310 was chosen as one of the first three “National Emojis” of the country. The emoji for the Nokia 3310 was called “The Unbreakable,” which is inspired by the jokes about the phone’s durability. [2]

Nokia 3310’s Revival

In 2017, Nokia and a mobile phone manufacturer called HMD Global (also known as Nokia Mobile) released the revived version of the Nokia 3310. This revived version is supposed to be inspired by the original Nokia 3310 that was manufactured in the early 2000s, although it has modernized features that make it easier to use in the late 2010s.

The first batches of the revived Nokia 3310 that were released in February 2017 had 2G-only support. In case you don’t know, 2G is a cellular network that was used in the 1990s and 2000s as the primary network for calls and text messages on mobile phones. However, by the late 2000s, the 2G network was almost phased out in favor of the faster and more reliable 3G network.

Because the revived Nokia 3310 only came with support for the outdated 2G networks, HMD Global faced criticism from consumers because they didn’t include support for 3G networks, which were becoming more common than 2G during the late 2010s. Fortunately, HMD Global was able to manufacture a new version that supported 3G networks in October 2017. [3]

The 2017 version of the Nokia 3310 featured an FM radio, a voice recorder, a 2-megapixel camera with flash, and an Opera Mini web browser. The Snake game that was installed on the original Nokia 3310 was replaced with an updated version called “Snake Xenzia” for the 2017 edition of the phone. This game was developed and published by Gameloft, a video game publisher that was founded in 1999 and is known for making video games for mobile phones.

Unfortunately, the customizable shells or casings for the 2017 Nokia 3310 were absent. Instead, the revived version was available in four colors, with two colors being glossy (red and yellow) and the other two being matte (dark blue and gray). The matte colors were inspired by the original casings that were installed on the original Nokia 3310 phones.

While the 2017 version of the Nokia 3310 has been discontinued, there are mobile phones designed and manufactured by Nokia that serve as successors to the 3310, and these include the Nokia 105, the Nokia 110, and the Nokia 225.


The Nokia 3310 remains one of the most iconic mobile phones designed and produced by Nokia. Even after years of its discontinuation, the Nokia 3310 would still be memorable because of the thousands of memes, jokes, and references about its design, resilience, and durability.


[1] Verma, P. (2023, August 10). The History of Nokia. Feedough. Retrieved November 7, 2023, from

[2] Cresswell, J. (2015, November). The Headbanger Throws His Phone Away and Goes to Sauna. Finland Promotion Board. Retrieved November 7, 2023, from

[3] Vasile, C. (2017, September 28). Nokia 3310 3G officially introduced, coming to the US and other territories from mid-October. Phone Arena. Retrieved November 7, 2023, from