The Top 20 Phones of the Last 20 Years


Here at Mobile Fun we’re celebrating out 20th birthday! Over the past two decades we’ve been witness to how early mobile phones have developed into the smartphones we know and use today.

With that said, as part of our celebrations we’ll be going through the top 20 selling phones and handsets of the last 20 years, which includes a number of surprise devices and some which you may already be expecting. You’ll also start to notice a trend or two….

Please note: The years noted below, link to the year the handset was released. Number of units sold are also approximates.

2000 & 2001 – Nokia 3310

The legendary Nokia 3310 was released in the year 2000 and sold 126 million units worldwide.

2002 – Nokia 6100

One of the first color screen phones available, the Nokia 6100 sold 15 million units, which is much less in comparison to the sales of the Nokia 3310.

2003 – Nokia 1100

Developing from the popular Nokia 8210 and 3310, the Nokia 1100 continued with the concept of a basic phone, which helped it to sell 250 million units.

2004 – Nokia 2600

Another Nokia to be included, which comes as no surprise considering they were at the top of their game in the early 2000’s. The Nokia 2600 sold 135 million units and featured a colour display.

2005 – Nokia 1110

Building on from it’s successor (Nokia 1100), the Nokia 1110 continued as an entry-phone and sold 250 million units.

2006 – Nokia 1600

Part of Nokia’s “Ultrabasic” series, the 1600 was designed to be durable and to be a prepaid mobile phone, selling 130 million units.

2007 – Nokia 1200

Another “basic” Nokia handset, however it featured a built-in torch which at the time was not available on many phones. Nokia managed to sell 150 million units of the 1200.

2008 – iPhone 3G

The first smartphone from Apple; the iPhone certainly an innovative handset, setting the trend for many more iPhone’s and smartphones to follow. Overall 25 million units of the iPhone 3G were sold.

2009 – Nokia 5230

With over 150 million units selling of the Nokia 5230, it’s certainly deserving of it’s place in the top twenty selling phones and beat of competition from the likes of Apple’s iPhone 3Gs, the LG Cookie and the Samsung Tocco.

2010 – Nokia 1280

With smartphones rapidly overtaking the phone market, Nokia continued with their basic handsets in the form of the 1280, designed to target developing countries with 100 million units sold. This however, was the last time Nokia managed to top the best selling phone for a particular year.

2011 – iPhone 4s

Building on from the iPhone 4, this was the final handset to be unveiled by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Apple also introduced Siri to the market for the first time too, which was denoted by the ‘s’ in the model name. Over 60 million units of the iPhone 4s were sold.

2012 – iPhone 5 & Samsung Galaxy SIII

Succeeding the iPhone 4s, the iPhone 5 set about exceeding it’s predecessors sales and hit over 70 million units. It’s also one of Apple’s most iconic handsets due to it’s compact design and the handset which introduced Lightning connectivity.

Equaling the iPhone 5’s sales of 70 million units was Samsung’s flagship of the time, the Galaxy SIII, which was also the direct competitor to the iPhone at the time.

2013 – Nokia 105

Nokia still continued to develop it’s basic handsets in 2013 to target devloping countries, in the form of the Nokia 105 which sold over 200 million units. It featured a 1.5″ colour display, a torch, radio and a huge battery life, allowing it to last around 35 days on standby.

2014 – iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus

Combining together to form the iPhone 6 Series, 2014 was the first year in which Apple released two smartphones simultaneously. Now in it’s 8th generation of iPhone, the 6 and 6 Plus models totalled a mamoth 222 million units, making it the second most popular phone ever sold.

2015 – Samsung Galaxy S6 & S6 Edge

Similar to Apple, Samsung released two variations of the S6 series, the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, with the latter being a larger device which as the name suggests had a curved display that wrapped around the edge of the unit. At the time of release, this was an innovative design feature from Samsung and helped to hit sales volumes of 45 million units.

2016 – iPhone 7 & iPhone 7 Plus

Now on the tenth generation of iPhone and following on from the previous design model of the 6 & 6 Plus, the iPhone 7 & 7 Plus didn’t look much different from the outside. However it made upgrades through the cameras, chip set, though Apple once again shocked the smartphone market by removing the 3.5mm headphone port. In comparison to it’s predecessors, the iPhone 7 & 7 Plus sold a mere 78.3 millon units.

2017 – iPhone 8 & iPhone 8 Plus

You may well now be noticing a second trend here. Releasing at the same time as the iPhone X, the iPhone 8 & 8 Plus again didn’t differ much from it’s predecessor models and continuned with mostly internal upgrades. Even though the iPhone X became the flagship model, the 8 and 8 Plus sold 86.3 million units worldwide.

2018 – iPhone XR

Part of the iPhone ‘X’ series of phones, the XR was released in 2019 alongside the XS and XS Max. Having the lowest price point out of the three handsets and featuring a 6.1″ display, it was no surprise that the iPhone XR was the most popular, with a total of over 77 million units.

2019 – iPhone 11

The iPhone 11 followed a very similar path to the iPhone XR, selling 75 million units and was released simultaneously with the rest of the iPhone 11 Series models; the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max.

2020 – iPhone 12 Series vs Samsung Galaxy S20 Series?

2020 proved to be a very difficult year for all and much different to what anybody expected. However amongst the pandemic, smartphone manufacturers continued to release new models. Samsung with the S20 Series (S20, S20 Plus, S20 Ultra and S20 FE, in addition to the 5G variants) and Apple with the iPhone 12 Series (12 mini, 12, 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max).

It’s been widely reported that sales of the S20 Series was much lower in comparison to that of the S10, with some news outlets revealing sales were 50% down on the first seven weeks in comparison to it’s predecessor.

The iPhone 12 on the other hand was reported to be 85% up in the first 24 hours in comparison to the sales of the iPhone 11.

We’ll be eagerly waiting to find out which handset topped the sales for 2020.

Don’t forget we’re offering 20% off selected products when you spend £20 or moreuse code BIRTHDAY at checkout on the products on this list!

However, that’s not all, follow us on Instagram and Facebook to see the amazing prizes and giveaways we have in store for you as a thank you for your support over the last 20 years!

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