These are the best-selling mobile phones of all time

In the era of modern technology, mobile phones stand as ever-present companions, seamlessly woven into the fabric of daily life. As of 2021, a staggering 7.1 billion people, constituting nearly 90% of the world’s population, were connected by the pocket-sized marvels of communication. Yet, behind the sleek screens and sophisticated functionalities lie the monumental success stories of devices that have etched their names into the annals of mobile phone history.

The Reign of Nokia

Towering above all, the Nokia 1100 claims the throne as the most-sold mobile phone of all time, boasting an astonishing 250 million sales over six years until its discontinuation in 2009. This unassuming device, existing in the era of emerging smartphones, endeared itself with a perfect blend of affordability, basic functionality, and a compact form factor, becoming a beloved choice in developing nations. Following closely in its footsteps, the Nokia 1110 secured the second position with an impressive 248 million units sold.

Apple’s Grand Entry

Breaking the Nokia dominance, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus strutted onto the stage, clinching the third spot with a combined 222 million units sold. Marking the advent of larger screen smartphones, these devices etched Apple’s presence as a formidable player. Notably, the iPhone 6 enjoyed such enduring popularity that it made a comeback in 2017 at a mid-range price, reaffirming its status as a timeless classic.

Credit: Visual Capitalist, using data from Wikipedia, Yahoo Finance, and tech analyst firm Omdia

Venturing down the list of best-sellers, Nokia and Apple maintain a tight grip on the rankings, with the Samsung E1100 (11th) and the Motorola Razr V3 (17th) making valiant efforts to diversify the landscape. Nokia’s trajectory, from a telecom market giant to HMD Global’s custodian, showcases the unpredictable fortunes in the fast-evolving mobile industry.

Apple vs. Samsung era

Credit: Visual Capitalist, with data shared by Omdia. Note: 2023 numbers are current up to Q3, 2023.

In the evolving saga of mobile phone rivalry, Apple and Samsung emerge as the behemoths defining the modern landscape. Apple’s transformative shift from personal computing to mobile phones is underscored by a remarkable transition, with half of its $383 billion revenue in 2023 attributed to iPhone sales. On the global stage, Samsung, with a 22% market share, contends with Apple’s 19%, emphasizing their divergent yet fiercely competitive business models.

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