Forget Smartphones: This Basic Bar Phone is the Best-Selling Mobile of All Time

Forget Smartphones: This Basic Bar Phone is the Best-Selling Mobile of All Time

Today the iPhone is ubiquitous: shoved in every pocket on the street, clamped in every hand on the train, toted by pupils and their parents, professionals and OAPs. But the iPhone’s omnipresence doesn’t even come close to the market saturation enjoyed by the Nokia ‘bar’ phone in the early 2000s.

Everyone had the 2003 1100 model, or its look-alike brother, the 2005 1110 model, especially in the burgeoning mobile markets in India and China. Sales of each model exceeded 250 million units, making these phones tied for the best-selling mobile of all time. At one point Nokia was shipping 1 million of these phones a week. The 1100 model was the most popular consumer electronic in the world.

Neither has been manufactured in more than a decade but we guarantee you remember these phones. The clunky, no-frills design. The tiny 96 by 65 pixel, black and white screen, perfect for playing endless hours of Snake II and nothing else. You could store 50 text messages and choose from among 36 pre-installed monophonic ringtones. Special features included… a flashlight.

In fact, utilitarian Nokia ‘candy bar’ phones dominate the list of the top 10 bestselling mobiles. At number 4, there’s the turn-of-the millennium favourite, the Nokia 3210, which has been identified by Wired as the ‘greatest phone of ever made,’ for its day-long battery life and basically doing nothing but being a phone. But while the Nokia 3210 ran out of juice after 24 hours, the green-screened Nokia 1200 kept going and going and going. It reportedly had a battery life of 390 hours. You could go weeks without charing your phone.

The iconic iPhone makes only one appearance on the bestsellers list: the iPhone 6 at number 3. The sixth-generation device overcame its pliable aluminium built and ‘Bendgate’ (remember those harrowing photos of brand-new iPhones warped from jeans pockets?) to sell 220 million units between 2014 and 2016.

The iPhone is joined by the Nokia 5230 and 6600 as the only three smartphones to clear the top 10. An entry level smartphone, the 5230 was aimed at the developing world (much like the 1100 and 1100 models) and had no Wifi capabilities. The 6600 model was known for its distinctive egg-shape and £400 price tag, which was eye-watering in 2003, when the 1100 was selling for around $100 .The phone hasn’t been manufactured since 2007 but is reportedly still in use around the world. It’s that indestructible.

Samsung’s E1100, another seemingly unbreakable phone, appears at number 8 while Motorola squeezes onto the list with the RAZR at number 10, the only flip phone in the ranking.

To recap, here’s a rundown of the bestselling mobile phones of all time.

1. Nokia 1100, 250 million units (2003-09)

1. Nokia 1110, 250 million units (2005-07)

3. iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, 220 million units, (2014-16)

4. Nokia 3210, 160 million units (1999-2005)

5. Nokia 1200, 150 million units (2007)

6. Nokia 6600, 150 million units (2003-07)

7. Nokia 5230, 150 million units (2009)

8. Samsung E1100, 150 million units (2009-12)

9. Nokia 2600, 135 million units (2004)

10. Motorola, RAZR V3, 130 million units (2004)