The Most Popular Phones of All Time Will Shock You

Discussing the top ten best-selling phones of all time and the dominance of Nokia’s basic models including the iconic 3210 and only one modern smartphone on the list.

Not much Android or Apple as Nokia rule the roost of all-time top sellers

With the considerable success of Android and Apple smartphones you’d perhaps expect a list of top ten selling phones to be littered with the odd Samsung Galaxy, Note and probably a few versions of the iPhone.

The truth is rather different: there’s just one ‘modern’ smartphone appearing in the top ten mobiles so far ever sold. None of the highly popular handsets from Samsung even feature and it’s ‘basic’ mobiles from Nokia leading the way; indeed, Nokia dominate with no less than seven of their past models in the top ten.

Basic is best?

Looking at the top ten list, the overwhelming conclusion is how universally popular Nokia’s basic handsets were back in the late 1990s and first eight to ten years of the new millennium. The elder statesman is the phone appearing at four in the list – the Nokia 3210 from 1999. It was a very basic phone and hugely popular to the point where it seemed every other person owned one at the time.

They were available in umpteen different colours and personalised cases were all the rage with the Snake game clearly being the Angry Birds of its day.

Two other basic Nokias took positions one and two in the list: the 1110 sold millions after its 2005 release even though smartphones were around at this point. The combination of affordability, the Nokia name and basic functions – calls, texts and the inevitable Snake game – was all many people really wanted.

The top seller of all at number one is the two year older Nokia 1100, another basic yet cleanly styled phone that hit the mark for millions of users back in 2003; another basic Nokia – the 1200 – sits at number five.

The modern smartphone standard bearer

Amidst a sea of basic Nokia handsets at the top of the list is one relatively modern smartphone – the Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus from 2014 that occupy third position in the most mobile handsets ever sold.

If you have one and wish to sell your phone you’ll be able to say it’s the only modern smartphone to appear on an all-time top selling mobile phone list.

While adrift of the specifications of successors from both their own stable and competitors such as Samsung’s Galaxy range, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are by some distance the most fully featured and powerful phones in the top ten ever sold.

The 6 Plus, with its 5.5 inch screen, was Apple’s first entry to the larger screened ‘phablet’ market and was a huge success although the smaller 6 with its 4.7 inch screen was the bigger seller.

Nokia’s best selling phones

Less basic from Nokia at six and seven

Nokia’s phones still rule at six and seven but in both cases basic handsets give way to models with a bit more historical interest.

The 6600 at number six with its bulbous look – certainly quirkier than the ‘belts and braces’ Nokias occupying the higher positions – was certainly popular in selling over 150 million worldwide. Featuring a 2.1 inch screen and a camera, it was considered a high end model when first released in 2003.

Another more interesting Nokia, this time a smartphone, was the 5230 at number seven. Available in 2009, it used the Symbian operating system and offered 3G connectivity, a 2MP camera, GPS, and 128MB of ram along with a screen that took up most of the front panel space.

Back to basics at eight and nine

In eight and nine are another two ‘basic’ phones, one from Samsung and one from Nokia. The Samsung E1100 from 2009 is at number 8 and was an affordable yet basic handset with huge battery life.

Ditto the Nokia 2600 at number 9; very basic in offering just calls and texting facilities and long battery life, it sold over 135 million after debuting in 2004.

Flipping the trend in tenth spot

Perhaps the most interesting of all was the model at number ten – the Motorola Razr V3. Its iconic design and smart silvery finish gave it stand out looks and it became the highest selling flip phone ever with over 130 million sold.

Nokia used to rule OK

Looking back at a list of all-time top sellers makes you realise just how Nokia dominated the mass market mobile scene at one stage. It’s hard to believe this heavyweight mobile player got elbowed aside once Android and Apple iOS phones stormed the market and tastes changed.

They’re still going and, with a nod to nostalgia, offer a new version of the 3310 (a basic Nokia that didn’t make the top ten despite selling over 120 million).

Back in the late 1990s and first half decade or so of the new millennium, people were happy to use modestly equipped phones as witnessed by the popularity of basic models from Nokia in particular. Now it seems almost everyone has a smartphone with Android and Apple slugging it out in the mobile marketplace.

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