This Is the Best-Selling Phone of All Time (It’s Not iPhone)

You would be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't own or have access to a cell phone. Phones have become necessities in the modern world we live in. But did you own the most-sold cell phone of all time?

Old, broken and obsolete cellphone on white background, FranceFreeProd33/Shutterstock

It’s not the iPhone, it’s not an Android phone, it’s not even the fancy new Google Pixel that runs on Google’s own Chrome OS. The best-selling phone of all time isn’t one of the most popular today, but we’d bet you know someone who had this cell phone if you didn’t have it yourself: The Nokia 1100. Whether it’s a Nokia or the latest iPhone, there is a very good reason why you shouldn’t sleep next to your phone.

That’s right—a Nokia. Over 250 million Nokia 1100 phones were sold between its release in 2003 and its discontinuation in 2009. Our initial thought was that this overwhelming win—the next closest phone sold over 30 million fewer devices than the Nokia 1100—was due to what else was available (or unavailable) on the market during that time period but Samsung, Blackberry, and Motorola all had options for sale during those six years, and the first iPhone was released in 2007.

Of course, Nokia had been making phones for a while when that particular Nokia model was released. The first Nokia phone was sold in 1997, and the company has been steadily releasing new models to this day. The Nokia 1100 wouldn’t particularly stand out in a lineup, unlike the cell phones we are used to today. The phone could make calls and send texts, it had a flashlight, the iconic game Snake, and you could compose your own ringtones.

The fact that a phone that stopped being sold in 2009 still holds the top spot is pretty incredible. According to Statista.com, over 1.56 billion cell phones were sold in 2018 alone, a huge jump from the lowly 122 million sold in 2007. And, 1.4 billion of those phones were smartphones, with 1.32 billion of those being Android phones. Current Nokia phones for sale are Android models—although, you can still snag a classic Nokia 3310 3G phone if you’re yearning for the days before smartphones took over (but don’t worry, it still comes equipped with Twitter and Facebook capabilities, too).

This particular Nokia isn’t alone in popularity. Tech gurus at Decluttr reported that Nokia holds seven of the top ten slots of the most sold phones of all time, with the iPhone, Motorola, and Samsung each making a single appearance on the list. The other models that make the cut for the top ten are the Nokia 3210 in third place, the 1200 in fourth, the 2600 in fifth, the 3310 in seventh, the 1208 in eighth, and the 6010 in tenth. The Samsung Galaxy S4 holds ninth place, the Motorola RAZR V3 gets sixth, and the iPhone 6 and 6 plus hold the second most sold spot.

While they were novelties to us in 2003, cell phones of all types have become commonplace in our world today. We use them for everything from placing simple phone calls on the go, to running our businesses, ordering food, entertaining ourselves, and even just playing a good old-fashioned game of Snake. Whatever you’re doing with yours, be sure you restart your phone this often to keep it working longer.

Isabel Roy
Isabel Roy has been a writer and editor for RD.com since February of 2019. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing and Rhetoric. She is thrilled to be living and working in the Big Apple although she misses the easy access to freshly made Wisconsin cheese curds and Kopps Custard. When not at the Reader’s Digest office, you can find her downing too many chai lattes and rereading her favorite Harry Potter books.