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Indestructible Nokia 3310 is the nickname given to Nokia’s 3000 series mobile phones and customer review parodies poking fun at their durability and heavy weight. The joke typically manifests itself in image macros, in which the Nokia phone is shown to be an incredibly powerful or destructive force.
On December 4th, 2011, a thread titled “The Terminator of cellphones” was submitted to the /r/geek subreddit that featured an image of a Nokia 1100 phone with a caption claiming it could only be destroyed in the fires of Mordor, a fictional volcano in the fantasy epic The Lord of the Rings. In the thread, Redditor TheBasilisk replied with a link to a photo of a Nokia 3310 naming it “the Witch King,” the chief of the Nazgûl (Ringwraiths).
The Nokia 3310 mobile phone was released in the fourth quarter of 2000. It is considered one of the best selling phones of all time, selling 136 million units according to Nokia’s press release from 2005:
If all the Nokia 3310/3330 phones sold were laid end-to-end, the line would stretch from Helsinki, Finland to Santiago, Chile – over 13,500 kilometers.
On December 27th, 2011, Redditor Naysar submitted a thread titled “Nostalgia” that contained an image of an iPhone with the caption “Falls to the floor / Break the screen” and a Nokia 3310 with the caption “Falls to the floor / Break the floor.” The thread reached the front page of Reddit and accumulated over 26,000 up votes in 2 weeks.
On January 10th, 2012, the web culture blog Slacktory published an article about the meme and included some original photoshop creations:
Throughout the month, Nokia 3310-related jokes have spread across other sites including FunnyJunk, Memebase and Tumblr under the tag “#nokia” and a Facebook fan page for “Nokia phones are indestructible” was created. The Finnish newspaper Iltalehti published an article about the online sensation surrounding the mobile phone on January 25th. In addition, search results for the keyword “Nokia” on YouTube reveal humorous videos about the phone in various languages like Russian, Slovakian, Macedonian and Chinese, suggesting the international status of the meme.
Most image jokes about Nokia 3310 make fun of the phone’s signature features that are often overlooked in the age of smartphones: durability, long-lasting battery life and heavy weight.
Crash Test Videos
Following the upsurge of Nokia 3310-related discussions, people around the world began posting “crash test” footage to demonstrate the actual durability of the phone.
Search queries for “indestructible Nokia” rose rapidly in December of 2011, the same month the first image was posted to Reddit.