The world’s first smartphone was created by IBM in 1994. Nicknamed Simon, the smartphone included revolutionary features including a touchscreen, email, and built-in apps including a calculator and a sketch pad.
Cellular phone functionality has continued to improve since then, especially in the years after 2000. By 2007, when Apple released its groundbreaking iPhone, there were already more than 200 million people using 3G around the world.
Here are 11 phones that have not only defined the mobile industry but are also listed among the highest-selling smartphones of all time.
Samsung Galaxy S3
The Galaxy S3 is an Android smartphone manufactured by Samsung. It is the third iteration in the Galaxy S series. Released in June 2012, the phone was an immediate and massive sales success. It sold 20 million units in its first 100 days of availability, then reached 30 million units sold by November 2012. By 2015, it had sold about 70 million units with no recalls ever recorded. That number includes sales of its variants, including the Galaxy S3 Mini and the Galaxy S3 Neo.
Apple iPhone 5
The Apple iPhone 5 is the 6th generation iPhone, succeeding the iPhone 4S and preceding both the iPhone 5S and 5C. Released in 2012, ten months after the death of Steve Jobs, the iPhone 5 was the first iPhone to be completely developed under the guidance of Tim Cook and the last iPhone to be overseen by Steve Jobs. Within 3 days of its release, it sold 5 million units. Sales eventually panned out after reaching about 70 million units sold.
Released in 2018, the iPhone XR is part of the twelfth generation of the iPhone alongside the premium iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. The iPhone XR is said to have sold around 9 million units in its opening weekend alone. As of September 2020, the iPhone XR had sold 77.4 million units worldwide, making it the eighth best-selling smartphone of all time.
At number 8 is the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus smartphones. They are the tenth generation of the iPhone.
Released in 2016, it succeeded the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus as the flagship devices in the iPhone series. While not the blockbuster that the iPhone 6 was, it still offered some features like better cameras and water resistance.
The company reported selling 78.3 million iPhones, higher than Wall Street’s forecasts of 76.3 million.
Samsung Galaxy S4
Coming in strongly at number 7, The Samsung Galaxy S4 is the fourth iteration of the Samsung Galaxy S series, and the successor to the popular Galaxy S III.
Released in 2013, It became Samsung’s fastest selling smartphone and eventually Samsung’s best selling smartphone with 20 million sold worldwide in the first two months, and 40 million in the first six months.
In total, more than 80 million Galaxy S4 units have been sold, making it the best selling Android-powered smartphone of all time.
At number 6 is the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, which make up the 11th generation of the iPhone.
Released in 2017, its design is largely similar to its predecessors, the iPhone 7.
However, notable changes include the removal of the rose gold and jet black color variants, the addition of inductive charging, a faster processor, and improved cameras and displays.
While sales of the iPhone 8 fell below analysts estimates, sales volume was still enough to clinch it the number 6 spot in our ranking.
As of February 2020, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus had sold 86.3 million units worldwide, making them the fifth best-selling smartphones of all time
Clinching the 5th spot is the Apple iPhone 12.
Released in 2020, the iPhone 12 lineup are the fourteenth-generation iPhones, succeeding the iPhone 11.
The iPhone 12 series has been the most successful launch of an Apple lineup since the iPhone 6 in 2014, with the iPhone 12 Pro Max in particular being was the most popular of the four variants.
Less than a year after its introduction, The iPhone 12 series hit 100 million units sold around the world in April, seven months after launch, with the the United States contributing up to 40% of the global iPhone 12 Pro Max sales in April 2021. The 11 series took two months longer to get there.
Coming in at number 4 is the 13th generation iPhone 11, released in 2019. It boasts a new Apple A13 Bionic chip, and an ultra-wide dual-camera system compared to the 12th generation iPhone XR. As of February 2021, the iPhone 11 has sold 102.1 million units worldwide, making it the fourth best-selling smartphone of all time.
At number 3, is The Nokia 5230.
Released in November 2009, The Nokia 5230 is one of the first low-end touch screen smartphones manufactured by the Finnish company
It was powered by Symbian Operating System and boasted of a 3.2-inch resistive touchscreen, 3G internet support and support for microSD memory cards.
With particular success in developing countries. the 5230 sold around 150 million units, making it one of the best selling phones to date.
The Nokia 6600 was released in October 2003.
At the time of release, it was the most advanced product ever launched by Nokia, and it runs on Symbian Operating System 7.0.
It also featured a VGA camera, a music player and video player, Bluetooth and extended storage by memory card, being the second non-Communicator to do so (after the Nokia 3650).
During its lifespan, the 6600 sold 150 million units, to clinch the number 2 spot in our ranking.
Our number one spot goes to Apple’s eighth-generation smartphone, the iPhone 6.
Released in 2014, the original iPhone 6 blew past sales records with 10 million units sold during its opening weekend, outpacing the 9 million of the iPhone 5S and 5C models. The iPhone 6 also topped the 5S in long-term sales, selling 71.5 million units in three months.
It demonstrated that high-priced phones can also be highly popular.
Feature-wise, it was infamously the last iPhone to support wired 3.5-mm headphone jacks but it made up for this with a considerably enhanced camera quality, WiFi and LTE connectivity, as well as battery life.
During its manufacturing years between 2014 and 2016, it sold over 220 million units worldwide, making it the best-selling smartphone in history.