nokia 1100
The Nokia 1100 – the bestselling mobile phone ever

A long time ago, in a galaxy not too far away, Nokia was the world’s leading manufacturer of mobile phones. Its handsets were absolutely everywhere on Earth – some still are, long after the company decided to stop making them. 

The Nokia 1100 is still regarded as the bestselling mobile phone of all time. Nokia-branded phones are still produced, but the company itself sold its mobile phone business to Microsoft three years ago, and operates mainly as a networking company – Nokia Networks.

The reason why Nokia left the mobile phone business was the smartphone – more specifically, the iPhone, which was basically a small computer which could also make phone calls.

Apple’s iPhone was not the first smartphone, the Blackberry being a notable earlier version, the technology they brought to the market made the old “feature phones” more or less obsolete.

So Nokia suffered heavy losses and eventually sold its mobile and devices division to Microsoft in 2013. The company, now generally known as Nokia Networks, thought it would have better luck in other markets.

But now, according to reports on and elsewhere over the past few months, Nokia is planning to launch a smartphone at Mobile World Congress 2017.

The empire phones back

Nokia has not officially confirmed any of the reports, and it’s unclear what role Microsoft has in this, but “leaked” photos and various rumours over the past couple of years would suggest there is at least some interest in such a product.

Apple and Samsung may be the big beasts of the smartphone jungle, but there’s probably plenty of room for other forms of life – especially if they don’t create a business model which depends on selling billions of units.

According to figures collated by IDC, Samsung sold more smartphones in the third quarter of 2016. It’s preliminary data of course, since we’re not even at the end of the year, but it’s probably a good picture of where the market’s at right now.

  1. Samsung – 72.5 million units
  2. Apple – 45.5 million
  3. Huawei – 33.6 million
  4. Oppo – 25.3 million
  5. Vivo – 21.2 million

For those of you unfamiliar with anything outside the Apple iUniverse, both Oppo and Vivo are Chinese companies. What IDC categorises as “others” account for 164.8 million units, making up a total of 362.9 million units.

Here’s the numbers, or market share in percentage terms, in pie chart form.


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