When I was a girl, I had a simple dream. I wanted to own the phone from The Matrix.
You know the one, right? It has a spring-loaded cover that slides off with a button press. In the sequels, it’s replaced by a self-consciously high-tech looking Samsung model, but in the original Matrix film it’s a Nokia. The internet tells me this is the Nokia 8110, and now it’s coming back.
HMD, a manufacturer of Nokia-branded phones, has unveiled a revamped version of what is called, disparagingly, the “banana phone,” but that true believers know as “The Matrix phone” and “anchor of our dearest cyberpunk fantasies from the early 2000s.” The phone will be a basic not-quite-smart phone with some limited app support, some decent stats, and a refurbished version of the old Snake game that was on every Nokia phone back in the day, but none of that is the important part.
The important part is that, for 79 euros (it’s only available in Europe, okay, that might be a problem), I can live out my dreams of being a protagonist in The Matrix, snapping open the slider, punching speed dial, and shouting something about Mr. Wizard while my mom wonders what the hell is going on and why did you call me at 3am, Julie?
This phone was, for me, at least, a perfect encapsulation of everything The Matrix did right with its tech aesthetics. The Matrix itself was an entirely mundane place, from our perspective (aside from, y’know, the hacker Superman flying around), but it still somehow felt visionary. The look was a little uncanny, covered in a green sheen. There were still hints of weird technology, here and there, like the device Morpheus’s crew use to remove an Agent bug from Neo’s stomach, or even the red and blue pills themselves.
Nokia’s 8110 was exactly this: like what you had, but weirder, somehow, and cooler. And no one will be cooler than me when I run around town, sliding open my phone at inopportune intervals and talking about The Matrix.