The Nokia 1100 is an entry level basic handset which hit the market in late 2003. It didn't have two front cameras or a curved screen, but it did have a torch light, a pair of no-slip grips, and a dust-proof case. A classic Nokia badass that the then thriving Finns designed for the growing Chinese market and other regions that smelled of cash!
How did that go for Nokia? Well, in about five years, the 1100 sold some 250 million units, becoming not only the world's best selling phone, but the best selling consumer electronics device in the world, period. In fact, Nokia's one billionth phone sold was a 1100 purchased in Nigeria in 2005!
So, what it is that made people in developing countries go crazy about the Nokia 1100? In short, many things! First, the phone was quite affordable at about $100, due to being very unassuming — even by 2003 standards. It did, however, have a built-in flashlight, monophonic ringtones (36 pre-installed, 7 user-made), interchangeable covers (yay!), soft dust-proof keys, 50 message capacity (25 inbox, 25 sent items), 50 contact slots, a 400 hours standby time between charges... and, perhaps most importantly, it had Snake! That is, Snake II and Space Impact. These games might seem primitive compared to the latest 3D titles, but they made 250 million people happy — beat that!
Although the Nokia 1100 was long discontinued by then, in 2009, used units started popping up on sale for obscene amounts of money — as much as $32,000 apiece! Apparently, hacking circles had discovered a way to reprogram certain units (manufactured in Nokia's German plant) the handset to receive messages intended for other numbers, opening up opportunities for fraud! Hopefully, nobody got burned, except those willing to pay thousands of dollars for an obsolete handset that had an exploit.
In an interesting note, the Nokia 1100 may or may be not due for an Android-powered reboot! In March this year, a Nokia 1100 with a quad-core 1.3GHz MediaTek MT-6582 processor showed up inside GeekBench's database. Such a smartphone cannot appear before 2016, due to Nokia's agreement with Microsoft, but if the Nokia 1100 does get to live another life as an entry-level Android smartphone, we're sure a ton of people will be delighted!