Year-End Special: Retro tech is new again
As innovators look to create newer and more sophisticated gadgets, they sometimes take inspiration from the past. Here's a look at some devices from 2017 that changed the way nostalgia sells
In the age of iPods and online music-streaming services, Saregama Carvaan is the perfect blend of all things old and new. Where else would you find 5,000 evergreen Hindi songs divided across different artists (Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, R.D. Burman and Mohammed Rafi, among others) and genres (romance, ghazals, spiritual, Sufi, Hindustani classical) in one portable music player that is bound to remind you of the classic transistor radio.
With Bluetooth, USB capabilities, a built-in radio and good battery life, there’s no shortage of features that’ll appeal to the younger lot. It comes in five vibrant colours, and there’s even a Tamil version that features songs from the likes of M.S. Viswanathan, IIaiyaraaja and M.S. Subbulakshmi, and others featuring M.G. Ramachandran (popularly known as MGR) and Sivaji Ganesan.
Some called it a marketing gimmick, while others labelled it a throwback to the original, but the latest version of the iconic phone did manage to turn some heads. This version of the 3310 (the original was released in 2000) was the ideal device for minimalists: push buttons, compact design, the cult game Snake and the Nokia logo on top of the screen.
There were a few add-ons such as Bluetooth connectivity, an MP3 player and a customizable user interface that supported lighter versions of Twitter and Facebook. It was good to finally have a phone that was meant to primarily text and handle calls.
Nintendo SNES Mini gaming console
Do the names Donkey Kong, Contra, Street Fighter and Super Mario Kart ring a bell? Diehard gamers will be familiar with these gaming titles, which were usually followed by the name of the most famous gaming console—Nintendo. Nintendo recently released the Super NES Classic Edition gaming console, which looked and felt just like the original 1990s home console. It’s a compact replica that comes with 20 classic Super NES games, including the ones we mentioned earlier. One look at the controller and you are bound to be transported back to a time when TV gaming was king.
After testing the waters in the touch-screen smartphone space, BlackBerry went back to its (Qwerty) roots and came out with the KEYOne. A nice mix of Android and seamless physical typing experience, the KEYOne featured a touch-sensitive Qwerty keyboard and ran Android 7.1. There were some hiccups under the hood (especially the processor) but the KEYOne did just fine—strong battery, decent camera, and reliable performance overall. Those who love BlackBerry’s classic Curve series will welcome the KEYOne into their collection as a phone that merges the past and the present.
Polaroid OneStep 2 i-type camera
Inspired by the classic OneStep camera of 1977, the OneStep 2 looks like a retro camera but is an instant model for the modern photographer. It promises a 60-day battery life and even has a built-in flash with a self-timer function. It’s compatible with the Polaroid 600 Film or i-Type Film—offering more options for users. This analogue instant camera is up for pre-order now on the Polaroid Originals website. Photography enthusiasts will not want to miss a device that mixes classic design with contemporary style.