The Old Is New Again: How Nokia and The Olympics Recycle To Stay Ahead

Remember what the early-2000s meant for mobile phone technology? Remember how we received SMSes that were prefaced by a shrill MIDI ringtone while academics debated (too fiercely, I think) over the effects of cellphone radiation? Remember how each new phone boasted a different feature, but we didn’t really have to keep upgrading because our sturdy devices could work for 10 years or more?

When did the conversation about our mobile phones get so boring?


Big fish eats small fish. That’s the nature of the free market. Add an increasingly connected (read: technology-reliant) world to the mix and you get a synopsis of what’s happened to us in the few years since.

Faced with the marketing prowess of Apple and the Google Android network, I’ve watched childhood familiars fall away one at a time. Siemens? Not really sure when he bowed out. Nokia? Almost like a nanny to me – I learned about Snake first as a mobile game then as an animal. Sony Ericsson? That one was an old, almost hyperactive friend.


To laugh at a Nokia meme – even an unfunny one – is a badge of honour. It shows you lived through the horrors of dial-up Internet and survived. If you had to load an image at 56Kbps speed, that picture had better be the joke of the century.

So, to revisit the iconic Nokia 3310 – and soon, own one – would be a medal of valour.

The original model has sold 126 million units since it was released in 2000. In contrast, only 6.1 million units of the original iPhone have been sold.

According to The Verge, the Nokia-branded phone maker HMD will be bringing back the revamped Nokia 3310 (they’re keeping the name) in the second quarter of 2017. Planned Price: 49 euros (S$72.85).

The Finnish company has packed the new 3310 with Nokia’s Series 30+ software, a 2.4-inch QVGA display, a 2-megapixel camera, and even a microSD slot. Opera Mini is also featured for basic web browsing, and even the Snake game is making a comeback.


HMD hasn’t forgotten the best part about Nokia phones: the new 3310 will have a standby battery life of 31 days. That’s an entire month. A phone that can last for an entire month on a full charge. It’s a millennial miracle.

Unfortunately, Nokia has not made plans to market the phone in Singapore, and for good reason. The relaunched Nokia 3310 will operate on a 2.5G network. From April this year, the 2G network will be shut down islandwide, and all phones here will have to support at least 3G networks in order to remain operational.

We look to the past to help shape our future. With green efforts at the forefront and more important than ever in a Trumpian world, it seems the organisers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are taking a step in making one of the world’s largest events more environmentally-friendly.

In perhaps the perfect response to the recent exposé of the disused state of the Rio 2016 sporting venues, the organisers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are hoping to construct medals from recycled smartphones.

According to a Dell community blogger, there are roughly “10 troy ounces of gold (or about three-fifths of a pound) per ton of smartphones. Ten thousand phones weigh one ton.”


So while your old phone may not be able to snap a picture of Joseph Schooling or Simone Biles, it might just hang from their neck in a few years’ time.

According to the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS) website, some “72 million tonnes of e-waste is generated annually worldwide, with less than 20 per cent of it recycled.”

“In Singapore, an estimated 60,000 tonnes of e-waste is produced annually — that’s equal to the weight of 160 Boeing 747 jets!”

Source: StarHub

In 2014, Singapore’s largest e-waste recycling programme, Recycling Nation’s Electronic Waste (Renew), was launched. In its first year, the effort led to the successful recycling of more than 23 tonnes of gadgets like laptops, tablets, remote controls, mice, and cables.

Here’s how you can do your part: The National Environmental Agency (NEA) has listed some recycling programmes where you can bring your gadgets to when they die.

Because with the increasing cost of flashy new tech and the advancement of recycling tech, one man’s trash is literally another man’s treasure.


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