Distance makes the heart grow fonder for brick phones

There would be very few people out there who would own a mobile phone that isn’t a Smartphone. For seven years I owned three phones that were not Smartphones. For the first half of that time, I was not made fun of, in fact during the first half of that time I was still in high school and people were envious of my shiny black flip phone. In the second half of that time, when iPhones and Smartphones were becoming bigger and more influential, I was fun-lovingly ridiculed for not keeping up with the times.  I finally conformed to the current technological society and bought my own Smartphone in February this year.

Just when iPhones and Smartphones are now, almost completely dominating the world, there is now a resurgence of desire for the old brick phones. In Europe the demand for Ericsson, Motorola and Nokia brick phones are increasing, with many people forking out  as high as 1000 Euros for one.

According to the founder of the website Vintage Mobile, Djassem Haddad, the reasons for the resurgence is the fact that the elderly population are looking for simple phones while the younger are looking for simple and cheap back-up phones.

Interestingly, Haddad founded this website in 2009, this was only five years ago. I recall 2009 being a year when iPhones and Smartphones weren’t big or common, at least not in Australia. I recall 2011 being the year in Australia, or at least in the towns and cities I lived in, when the popularity and dominance of iPhones and Smartphones took off.

I found it interesting that there is this feeling of nostalgia and longing for the brick phones, especially considering how hard and fast the iPhones and Smartphones have been embraced. However maybe the speed of the embrace has been part of it, maybe we have embraced this change or progression too fast and too soon? iPhones and Smartphones were suppose to make life easier with an endless variety of apps and internet connections. However they have also made our lives harder with most people feeling separation anxiety as addictions are developing to touch screens and apps, as well as a blurred work/life balance as you can still be getting memos and emails from the office at any time. I think that people long for the simplicity that these phones would bring for us–basic but vital communication, nothing more and nothing less.

When I read the original news article that inspired this one and look at the picture of the old Nokia and Motorola phones, in particular the Nokia 3310, I do feel a twinge of longing. I do miss my old Nokia 3310, which was the first phone I owned, it was a hand-me-down from my parents. I miss it because of its simplicity, but I also miss the camaraderie as everyone I know owned a Nokia 3310, just like everyone I know now owns an iPhone or Smartphone.


I think everyone feels this way about every electronic device, phone or otherwise. There would have been plenty of people who experienced the popularity of CDs and missed records and the turntable. Just the same there would have been plenty of people who missed Discmans and Walkmans when the mp3 player and iPod emerged. There also would have been plenty of people who miss their big square TV when they first got a flatscreen. I could go on and you could say that some people don’t miss their old devices and that’s why they get new ones, and you would be right. I think the main reason why people feel this way comes down to the philosophies of “be careful what you wish for” and “you want what you can’t have”. We all want our devices to be better and smarter as well as smaller and more convenient at the same time, but as soon as we get it, we either don’t want it anymore or it causes unforeseen problems that we don’t know how to fix and we want to go back to the “good old days.”

It’ll be interesting and scary to see how iPhones and Smartphones will make a resurgence as a brick phone in five to ten years and what kind of Super Smartphones they will be compared to.

This article was originally published on Tech Reviewer on 26 May 2014 and can be found here.