Tech back the time

As the gadgets we interact with daily become unrecognisable from their predecessors, companies are playing the nostalgia card and breathing new life into the devices from the past

As the saying goes, ‘old habits die hard’. Technology is evolving faster than ever, and nowadays, it doesn’t take too long for the latest device to become old and outdated. This is something that makes it increasingly difficult to for us to adapt to change; especially, when things that we love start finding it hard to compete with new technology and come under the threat of extinction. This strong sense of nostalgia often forces brands to innovate and get back to the drawing board to bring back things from the past in a modern form. Here are four such instances where companies read the sentiment of people and innovated to preserve tradition.

2017 Nokia 3310

It’s hard to believe that more than one-and-a-half decades have passed since Nokia first introduced the original 3310. A mobile handset so legendary, that even after 17 years its popularity has not eroded. Be it the funny internet memes joking about the phone’s rugged build quality or the comparisons between the poor battery life offered by modern smartphones with the 3310’s week-long standby, the legend just refuses to die. The Nokia 3310 quite literally heralded the rise of the Finnish brand and helped it to capture the global cell phone market single-handedly. Sadly, a couple of years later, Nokia failed to the read market trends and started to struggle. In the last few years, the iconic company has changed hands several times in a desperate attempt to stay afloat.

However, the legend is back. Nokia, which is now owned by a Finnish company named HMD Global, has brought back the 3310 from the dead. Launched at the 2017 Mobile World Congress (MWC), the reboot of the 3310 quickly became the hottest news in the tech world by evoking a sense of nostalgia. And just in case you were wondering, the game ‘Snake’ has also made a comeback in a refreshed avatar. It won’t be a surprise if the revamped Nokia 3310 sells in good numbers.

LP Record Players

Nowadays, the sheer number of sources from where we get our music is simply staggering. And what is even more impressive is how the technology has evolved in the last decade. Having said that, the arrival of different formats and streaming services for music have not been able to kill the good old vinyl or its popularity. In fact, the popularity of vinyl records is on an increase, especially amongst the younger population. A part of this trend can be credited to the coolness of fact that collecting old, vinyl records simply seems cool and there’s nothing more irresistible than a stack of round LP Records in their square covers with attractive album art. But there is more to it. Once you are hooked to the distinctive analogue sound of the LP records, the audiophile in you will not want to listen to anything else.

While the old gramophones with the acoustic horns have quite rightly turned into show items, you don’t have to just stack those vinyl records for show. A lot of audio hardware companies make modern, high-end LP Record players. And the best thing about it is you don’t have to really shell out a lot of money on these turn-tables.

Instant Cameras (Polaroid)

Similar to the Nokia 3310, instant cameras, especially the Polaroid cameras, have a huge fan following. The self-developing film mechanism was pioneered by Polaroid and they were an instant hit in the 90s. With the advent of digital cameras, especially smartphone cameras, Polaroid cameras have lost their charm. While other camera makers that made instant cameras changed with time, Polaroid was too late to bring the battle to modern digital cameras, and finally filed for bankruptcy in 2008. But, fuelled by a strong sense of nostalgia, instant cameras are trying to make a comeback. And the fact that they still look cool, and are affordable, is making them popular again. Polaroid’s Snap Touch has an attractive design, and modern features like Bluetooth connectivity and the ability to add digital filters make it a nice camera to add to the collection. However, if you want to go for the old-school look for an old-school camera, Fujifilm’s Instax Mini 90 is what you should be looking at. It’s a beautiful camera with a beautiful design, perfect to evoke those memories of times gone by.

Montblanc Augmented Paper

This brings us to one fine piece of innovation which beautifully adopts cutting-edge technology while preserving the traditional experience of writing with one’s own hand. Let’s be honest, nothing beats the sensation of writing with a pen on paper. Most of us still belong to the generation who appreciate the traditional way of writing. And although we have adopted digital technology for all its benefits, we still can’t give up scribbling on a piece of paper. But, Montblanc is one such company that continues to integrate innovation with traditional craftsmanship. Montblanc’s Augmented Paper, which was launched last year, blends the experience of writing with a pen on paper with digital technology. It is a ₹40,000 notepad-and-pen, which comes in an elegant Italian leather envelope, and has the ability to take those hand-written notes and send its digital form to a smartphone.

The Augmented Paper includes an electronic digitiser, a StarWalker writing instrument, a notebook with lined paper, a USB cable to charge the device, three ballpoint refills and tweezers to exchange the refills. The electronic digitiser has the capability to recognise 12 different languages, including English, German, Russian, Spanish, Italian and Chinese, so that the written notes can be converted into searchable text. If you’re wondering if it’s a fancy tablet, well it is not. In fact, when you run out of paper on the notepad, you can replace it with any other paper. This technology is not new, but Montblanc has taken the wizardry to a whole new level without compromising on the pure experience of writing with a truly magnificent writing instrument.


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