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Ranked: The 15 Best-Selling Mobile Phones of All Time

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A bar chart with the sales of the top 15 most-sold mobile phones of all time.

Ranked: The Best-Selling Mobile Phones of All Time

In 2021, the world had 7.1 billion mobile phone users, roughly 90% of the global population. The mobile phone is now one of humanity’s most ubiquitous pieces of technology, and these sleek modern devices are a far cry from their hefty, brick-like predecessors.

But what are the most sold mobile phones of all time?

Using data from Wikipedia, Yahoo Finance, and tech analyst firm Omdia, we chart out the sales of the mobile phones that have enjoyed unmitigated success.

The Most Sold Mobile Phones of All Time

Heading the list of most sold phones ever is the much-beloved Nokia 1100, recording more than 250 million sales in six years before being discontinued in 2009.

Despite existing at the same time as the first mass-market smartphones (the Nokia E-series and then the iPhone), the 1100s’ price, focus on basic functionality, and pocket size made it a favorite in developing countries.

At second place, another variant of the same line, the Nokia 1110, sold 248 million units.

RankMobile PhoneAll-Time Sales
1Nokia 1100250M
2Nokia 1110248M
3iPhone 6/6 Plus222M
4Nokia 105 Series200M
5iPhone 6S/6S Plus174M
6iPhone 5s165M
7Nokia 3210161M
8iPhone 7/7 Plus160M
9iPhone 11/11 Pro/
11 Pro Max
159M
10iPhone XR/
XS/XS Max
151M
11TNokia 6600150M
11TNokia 1200150M
11TNokia 5230150M
11TSamsung E1100150M
15iPhone 5146M
16Nokia 2600/
2610/2626/2630
135M
17TMotorola RAZR V3130M
17TNokia 1600/
1650/1661
130M
19Nokia 3310126M
20iPhone 8/8 Plus125M

Ranked third is the iPhone 6 and 6 plus, with a combined 222 million units. Their 4.7 and 5.5-inch screens ushered in the era of large screen smartphones, and they remain Apple’s best-selling iPhones and the best-selling smartphones of all time. In fact, the iPhone 6 was so popular it was re-released in 2017 at a mid-range price level.

The next 17 ranks of the most sold phones are split between Nokias and iPhones, with only the Samsung E1100 (ranked 11th) and and the Motorola Razr V3 (ranked 17th) managing to break the duopoly.

Of course, Nokia and Apple have had very different fortunes in the last decade.

After riding telecom market deregulation, first in Europe, and then in Asia, Nokia failed the transition to smartphones and quickly lost ground to Apple, Google and Samsung.

Microsoft purchased Nokia’s mobile phone business in 2014 to boost their own Windows Phone, but when that failed, Nokia’s phone business was once again sold to HMD Global. Today, HMD Global still makes Nokia phones (including revamps of earlier models) which run on Android OS.

The Modern Mobile Phone Rivalry: Apple vs. Samsung

It’s hard to believe how quickly Apple’s core business has changed from personal computing to mobile phones.

In 2009 iPhone sales contributed about 25% to the company’s revenues. By 2023, half of Apple’s $383 billion revenue came from their phones.

The iPhone routinely dominates the top 10 best-selling phones every year, as evidenced from research by tech analysts Omdia.

2022 Best Sellers2022 Sales2023 Best Sellers2023 Sales
iPhone 1355MiPhone 14 Pro Max31M
Galaxy A1335MiPhone 1426M
iPhone 13 Pro Max29MiPhone 14 Pro24M
iPhone 14 Pro Max23MiPhone 1322M
iPhone 1121MGalaxy A1420M
iPhone 13 Pro19MGalaxy A14 5G14M
iPhone 14 Pro18MGalaxy A54 5G14M
Galaxy A03 Core18MGalaxy S23 Ultra13M
iPhone 1417MGalaxy A04e11M
Galaxy A0316MRedmi 12C11M

Source: Data shared by Omdia. Note: 2023 numbers are current up to Q3, 2023.

However, Korean electronics behemoth Samsung’s sales figures aren’t exactly lackluster either. And while the two companies’ business models differ quite a bit, their flagship devices are routinely put up against each other: Samsung winning on battery life and mid and lower-range options, and Apple winning on optimization and security. Both brands have stellar cameras.

And while Apple rules the U.S. smartphone market (52% market share), Samsung edges them out globally with a 22% market share, compared to Apple’s 19%.

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Can Data Centers Be Sources of Sustainable Heat?

Data centers produce a staggering amount of heat, but what if instead of treating it as waste, we could harness it instead?

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Diagram showing how waste heat from data centers could be recaptured and recycled to provide sustainable heat in residential and commercial settings.

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The following content is sponsored by HIVE Digital

Can Data Centers Be Sources of Sustainable Heat?

Data centers support the modern technologies on which we rely, but also generate incredible amounts of heat as waste. 

And since computers tend to be very sensitive to heat, operators go to great lengths (and expense) to get rid of it, even relocating to countries with lower year-round average temperatures. But what if instead of letting all that heat disappear into thin air, we could harness it instead?

In this visualization, we’ve teamed up with HIVE Digital to see how data centers are evolving to recapture and recycle that energy.

How Much Heat Does a Data Center Produce?

To get an idea how much heat we’re talking about, let’s imagine a mid-sized cryptocurrency operation with 1,000 of the most energy-efficient mining rigs on the market today, the Antminer S21 Hydro. One of these rigs needs 5,360 watts of power, which over a year adds up to 47 MWh.

Multiply that by 1,000 and you end up with over 160 billion BTU, which is enough energy to heat over 4,600 U.S. homes for a year, or if it happens to be Oscar season, enough heat to pop 463,803 metric tons of popcorn. Less if you want melted butter on it. 

How Waste Heat Recycling Works?

At a high level, waste heat is recaptured and transferred via heat exchangers to district heating networks, for example, where it can be used to provide sustainable heat. Cool air is then returned to the data center and the cycle begins again.

Liquid cooling is by far the most efficient means of recapturing and transporting heat, since water can hold roughly four times as much heat as air.

Data centers around the world are already recycling their waste heat to farm trout in Norway, heat research facilities in the U.S., and to heat swimming pools in France.

A Greener Future for Data Centers?

Waste heat recycling has so far been voluntary, led by operators looking to put their operations on a more sustainable footing, but new regulations could change that. 

Amsterdam and Haarlemmermeer in the Netherlands require all new data centers to explore recycling their waste heat. In Norway, they require it for all new data centers above 2 MW, while Denmark has taken a carrot approach, and developed tax cuts and financial incentives. And in late 2023, the EU Energy Efficiency Directive came into force, which will require data centers to recycle waste heat, or show that recovery is technically or economically infeasible. 

With Europe leading the way, could North America be very far behind?

HIVE Digital Provides Sustainable Heat

HIVE Digital is already recycling waste heat from its data center operations in Canada and Sweden. 

Their 30 MW data center in Lachute, Québec, is heating a 200,000 sq. ft. factory, while their 32 MW data center in Boden, Sweden, is heating a 90,000 sq. ft. greenhouse, helping to provide sustainably grown local produce, just one degree short of the Arctic Circle.

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Learn how HIVE Digital is helping to meet the demands of emerging technologies like AI, sustainably.

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