The best-selling cell phone in history isn’t an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy, but a Nokia (and it’s 20 years old) –

News JVTech The best-selling mobile phone in history is not an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy, but a Nokia (and it’s 20 years old)

Published on February 10, 2023 at 8:20 p.m


It wasn’t a very advanced phone even for its time, but it stood out for its simplicity and robustness.

A record that Apple and Samsung will have difficulty achieving

If you were asked to name the best-selling cell phone in history, you would probably think of smartphones from Apple or Samsung, two of the most popular brands today. Still, This achievement does not belong to them. To find the true bearer of this remarkable title, we must take a journey into the past, a journey that takes us back two decades, to a time when the world was very different. Do you remember what life was like in 2003? If you’re 100 years old, this may not be the right question for you, but if you’re from an older generation, you probably have an answer. On the more technical side, we at JV had broadband available in many places and as far as wireless connectivity was concerned, we were still using 2G networks.

Photo credit: Tim Samuel (Pexels)

When it came to work or study, we used our computers with Windows XP or Mac OS X (not macOS). We also witnessed the arrival of the first smartphones live. As we remembered a few years ago, the BlackBerry 6230, Sony Ericsson P900 and Nokia 6600 were among the most famous mobile phones. The latter manufacturer was the real king of the market. The device catalog was huge, knowing that Nokia was not limited to advanced phones. Understandably, the company was also looking at smaller solutions for customers with more limited budgets at the time..

Nokia had the recipe

And we say it was a smart bet because In the middle of the development of the smartphone concept, a mobile phone called Nokia 1100 tentatively appeared which was not intended for this segment. It did not stand out for its camera or its color display. It was a normal, simple cell phone, but based on a solid concept that made it as efficient as it was indestructible. When the Nokia 1100 was released in August 2003, it cost about $100. The Finns, with a global presence, wanted the phone to work even in the most demanding environments. This requirement has been translated directly into the design, with a fully enclosed keyboard that protects against dust and non-slip rubber edges, ideal in wet weather.

Photo credit: Pawel Czerwinski (Unsplash)

The best-selling phone in history isn't an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy, but a Nokia (and it's 20 years old)

The phone has a monochrome screen, a flashlight, a clock, a calendar, a calculator, a stopwatch and an address book. When it came to ringtones, there were 36 options to choose from or, if you were smart enough, seven places to record your own ringtones. One of the advantages of the device was its great autonomy. Nokia’s tactic to achieve this was very simple: a battery was installed in the Nokia 1100 that was originally designed for more advanced and therefore more energy-hungry models. This was the BL-5C battery, which allowed the device to be used for more than a week without having to be connected to a charger.

This combination of features made the phone a success, although its presence went relatively unnoticed in many markets. Since its launch, it has sold more than 250 million units, more than Apple’s best-selling iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which sold around 225 million units.

Check out the Nokia 1100i on Amazon

This page contains affiliate links to specific products selected by JV for you. Any purchase you make by clicking on one of these links will not cost you more, but the e-retailer will pay us a commission. The prices shown in the article are those offered by the retailer sites at the time the article was published. These prices may vary at the sole discretion of the merchant site without notice to JV. Learn more.