As the Apples and Samsungs of the tech world dominate smart phone markets in the developed world, Finland-based mobile maker Nokia has set its sights elsewhere: the rural and isolated populations of the developing world.
The Nokia 105, with a retail price of $20, will not only provide cell phone service to residents of remote, underdeveloped areas. It also comes with a flashlight, an FM radio, and a battery that can last 35 days without a charge, in case of an electricity outage.
The phone is also built to withstand abuse, and protected against heavy dust and splashes, a feature sorely missed by users in the developed world wielding glass-jawed smart phones.
The myth of the “Indestructible Nokia” isn't new. It took on a life of its own on the internet as more delicate smart phones started flooding the markets in Europe and North America, replacing the ubiquitous 2000 model. Believed to have harnessed the durability of Chuck Norris’ death dealing foot, the Nokia 3310 was fabled to smash through concrete floors when dropped while the iPhone would shatter upon impact.
The only way to destroy the Nokia 3310, some believed, was to cast it into the fires of Mount Doom, the same method Frodo Baggins’ used to rid Middle Earth of the One Ring.
The Nokia 105 may not have the power to bring entire nations to their knees but its durability, lost to the West, is a feature that sets it apart from more fragile competitors currently popular in underdeveloped markets.