What's the best selling phone of all time?

What's the best selling phone of all time?

The iPhone 6s? The Samsung Galaxy? Think again.

We do love a list. And we particularly love a list when it gives us a little surprise because it's not what we thought it would be. We love that in a list.

So what would you say was the best-selling phone of all time? Would you hazard a guess at it being the iPhone 5, the Samsung Galaxy or even the Motorola Razr? Remember that one? Or how about the iPhone 6s, the 6s plus or the iPhone 4? Surely they have a place at or near the top of the chart? Well, they do appear in the top 20 list (according to Wikipedia and an article recently in the Daily Telegraph) but they are far off the top spot.

For the answer think back to when you had a phone with a battery life of three to four weeks, when texting was the new way to communicate and when you couldn't get a signal outside of London or Glasgow. You may not even have been old enough to have a phone when it was released! It's that old. However, in parts of the world where there is a mobile signal but no landlines, cheap, functional phones that are reliable and have a great battery life have long been king. And those are, of course, (drum roll please) the simple, no frills Nokias.

However, perhaps surprisingly, it isn't the world famous Nokia 3310 that took top slot. That one came in at number 11 with a relatively meagre all time sales record of 126 million. The Nokia at the top of the tree is the 1100. It's a design classic from 2003 that was designed for the developing countries to be dust proof and slip resistant. It had 2 games, a 50 message capacity, 36 ringtones and a torch. And how many has it sold?

Sit down.

If you think that the iPhone 6 and 6 plus, Apple's best-selling models to date, have sold 100 million handsets, it's even more remarkable to think that the Nokia 1100 sold 250 million units. Add that to the 250 million units sold of the 1110, the 150 million units sold of the Nokia 1200 and you start to see what a player Nokia was in the world phone market. It was bought in 2013 by Microsoft.

But that was then… today, the in the UK market, the iPhone 6s 16GB is the best-selling phone, with the iPhone 6 and 5s right behind. After that it's the Galaxys that give them the chase. The S6 Edge 64GB is leading the pack at the moment, followed closely by the S6 32GB.

The best selling phones of all time (source: Wikipedia):

Model Release Sales
NOKIA 1100 2003 250m
NOKIA 1110 2005 250m
NOKIA 3210 2005 160m
NOKIA 1200 2007 150m
NOKIA 5230 2009 150m

The 'also rans' include, of course iPhone 6s, which has sold 100m units since its release in 2014, the Samsung Galaxy S4 which has sold 80m units and the Motorola Razr, which sold 130 million. Where it goes from here is anybody's guess, but we'd put our money on Apple….

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Posted: 29 January 2016