If you take a look from the distance at the competition among the major tech companies, you cannot escape the feeling that this world turned into a technological wild west, where the gold rush is a lifestyle and the most powerful of cowboys blaze their guns and make the law.
Maybe we went too far with the metaphor, but we have so many gadgets today, so many smart devices, so many wearables and pieces of hi – tech hardware, we don’t know what to choose anymore. Which smartphone is better? What smartwatch is going to revolutionize the world? What next mind – blowing Apple, Google or Samsung device should we be getting ready for? And what flagship product will turn its manufacturer into the technological ruler of the world?
While the majority of device consumers is racing towards the next best gadget, comparing prices and reading reviews, a new type of client pool is raising in the shadows: the nostalgic one. There are some people out there who got tired of the technological pressure and started looking for a different type of gold mine. And their treasure happens to be old mobile phones models. Surprising? At all.
Some entrepreneurs in Europe understood this consumers’ growing need to return to the simple side of life and started selling old Nokias, Motorolas and even Ericssons that you probably remember from your teenage years in the mid 90′. Some of these old mobile phones mobiles can cost even 1000 Euros and besides receiving some tweaks, they are plain, simple and plastic altogether. No email options, no apps, no photo / video shooting, no Bluetooth connections, no crystal clear colored screens, no nothing. What these phones have instead is a battery that can last a week and the ability of being almost indestructible.
According to one of these old mobile phones models sellers, it’s the simplicity that attracts the customers to pay tens, hundreds and even thousands of euros on a vintage Nokia 8210 or a Motorola StarTac. Djassem Haddad, a man who started selling old phones in 2009 says the business took off starting last year. He managed to sell over 10,000 of units and the process is accelerating as more and more people are drawn by the idea of simplifying their lives.
There are some psychological explanations to this trend. A tech analyst sees the phenomenon as the rise of a counter – culture and a displayed need to be different. When everybody has smartphones that look more or less the same, showing off an old plastic brick of a phone is a statement of stepping out from the crowd. Also, the older the people get, the more they orient themselves to simpler gadgets that do exactly what they were supposed to do: make and receive phone calls and SMSes.
Are retro phones worth their price? Maybe, maybe not, but what is clear is that at least a few categories of people are going back to the roots and give the old mobile phones models an unexpected chance…