Nokia’s Matrix banana phone gets over 100,000 preorders in China
Big numbers for a handset that doesn’t support WeChat or Alipay
It’s no secret that Nokia has high hopes for China. Last year, it received 230,000 preorders for the first phone (Nokia 6) it launched in China in three years. Since then, it’s debuted several handsets in China, including the latest X5.
But this time it’s another phone -- a retro classic from almost two decades ago -- that has caught the eyes of Nokia fans.
The Nokia 8110, i.e. the banana phone that Keanu Reeves’ Neo used in The Matrix, is now open for preorder online in China. In less than a week it’s logged more than 101,000 reservations on JD.com, and the number is still growing.
The remake supports 4G LTE and dual-SIM -- a popular feature in China that lets users use two SIM cards at the same time to exploit different rate plans from carriers. It's powered by Qualcomm’s 205 Mobile Platform, and comes with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage.
In case you’re wondering, the 8110 has no fingerprint sensor, selfie camera, GPS, or NFC. But hey, your phone’s battery probably doesn’t last 17 days on standby -- or come with the Snake game!
Richard Liu, the billionaire founder and CEO of JD.com, thinks he’s found the perfect gift for his parents.
“That’s great! This is really designed for my mom and dad!” he wrote about the 8110 on his Toutiao microblog.
Not everyone agrees though.
One person, referring to Liu by his full name, wrote on Weibo: “Liu Qiangdong, you disrespectful son, giving this to your mom and dad when you’re so rich!”
(The Nokia 8110 sells for 499 yuan, or US$74.)
Many also say they won’t consider the phone unless it supports common Chinese apps like WeChat or Alipay.
“My mom needs WeChat. My dad wants iQiyi,” one person commented.
A Nokia customer representative told us neither WeChat or Alipay are available on the 8110. But if you’re really patient, you can still surf the web on the phone’s preinstalled browser.
(Abacus is a unit of the South China Morning Post, which is owned by Alibaba -- the owner of Alipay and a competitor of JD.com.)