There aren’t many things from The Matrix that I’d like in my life.
You can keep the unstoppable AI assassins, full-length leather trench coats, and enslaved human race. But 20 years after one of the most iconic films of the nineties was released I’m still waiting for that phone to be a real thing.
You know the one. As Agent Smith closes in on Neo at his office, Keanu Reeves’ worker drone turned master hacker answers a call from Morpheus on a phone with a decidedly futuristic spring-loaded answering mechanism. At least, it felt futuristic in 1999 and for many people it still does.
In reality that part of the phone was missing. The actual, real-life Nokia 8110 had a sliding panel to cover the keypad but you had to operate it yourself – the spring-loaded bit was added just for the film.
Surely the rebooted version, announced yesterday at MWC in Barcelona, would finally deliver the Matrix phone we’ve all been waiting for?
Unfortunately, like with all of The Matrix sequels, I was left disappointed.
The slider’s there but it’s still thumb-activated and as nice as the gently curving form factor is, it’s on a €79 feature phone, albeit one that does have 4G.
But the more I thought about it, the more it made me realise that the ‘Matrix phone’ I want isn’t really the 8110. The phone I want doesn’t even have a spring-loaded slider. After all, that was actually included on the 7110, released a few months after the film, and I think we’re well beyond needing a return to keypads.
No, the Matrix phone is symbolic. It represents progress and excitement. The feeling that you’re holding something that should only exist in a sci-fi film. When all phones look the same and all the improvements occur on the inside, that feeling has all but disappeared.