Nokia 3310: Web Browser


In late 2017, Nokia re-released their iconic 3310 dumbphone from the turn of the millenium. It ran the Java based Smart Feature OS and carried an Opera Mini browser, FM radio, voice recorder and 2 MP camera. with support for 3G. Cheap, durable with a high battery life and classic form factor, it sold out in multiple markets.

Nokia 3310 running Chakra Meditation
Nokia 3310 in Azure Blue

I took an interest in the phone for its web browser, which I estimated would not be much less effective at browsing the web than lynx, providing most app functionality and overally a likely a much more pleasant experience than a smartphone. This turned out true.


  1. SMS
  2. Facebook messenger
  3. Google search
  4. Wikipedia
  5. Discogs
  6. 4chan
  7. Twitter
  8. Uber/Lyft with Ridepin


  1. Google Maps
  2. Youtube
  3. Soundcloud

To Be Tested

  1. Reddit
  2. Instagram
  3. Tumblr
  4. Pleroma
  5. Yahoo Maps
  6. Gmail
  7. Amazon shopping


The Nokia 3310 uses a version of Opera Mini to render its websites. It comes pre-installed with Facebook and Twitter "apps," which are actually just shortcuts to their respective mobile sites. Opera Mini renders the sites in HTML with a numpad controlled mouse that auto-locks to links and buttons.

The bloat of the modern web is rendered down to text and hyperlinks - very efficient. Netscape era sites were built with HTML alone. Styling was handled on the user end, with preferences like background and font color chosen in the browser settings. Each client had it's own personal style, rather than each website. Using Opera Mini is kind of like that, it feels like my Nokia is processing the internet in its own personal image. I like it much more than the alternative.

The functions of these "apps" work just fine on their HTML mobile sites. So why, on smartphones, do apps exist as apps when cross-compatible, lightweight web-apps suffice?

What is all the processing power stuffed into a smartphone going towards? Besides support extremely unoptimized UI's, what can a smartphone do that my Nokia can't?

My Nokia can use Facebook, Twitter, GPS, etc. along with the entirety of the standards-compliant web. The only thing stopping it from browsing other major Web 2.0 sites is there poor standards-compliance - mainly the reliance on insecure Javascript. Why does it need a Snapdragon?

The Nokia doesn't feature a scientific calculator. The games are rudimentary. It probably also struggles with HD video streaming. Is that all we use our smartphone hardware for? Why are they made to be so powerful? Just for Angry Birds and Netflix?


Related Articles:

  • Smartphones Considered Harmful
  • Websites Should All Be Lightweight & Standards Compliant
  • Javascript Considered Harmful

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