Nokia 1100 Mobile Phone

This design file is a work in progress. We welcome contributions, corrections, and updates. Read Collecting Design (Digitally) at M21D to learn more about our approach to collecting design.

  • Creators: Nokia and Nokia manufacturing (Finland, Germany, and India) 

  • Materials: ongoing research 

  • Environment

    • Carbon footprint: ongoing research 

    • Energy: ongoing research 

    • Life-cycle assessment: ongoing research 

  • Labor: ongoing research 

  • Equality: ongoing research

In 2003, the Finnish telecommunications company Nokia began manufacturing the Nokia 1100, a mobile phone roughly the size of a candy bar and weighing 93 grams. Its feature set included a small monochrome screen (95 x 63 pixels), flashlight, alarm clock, stopwatch, calculator, ring-tone composer, console (including the game Snake!), and screensaver. Its memory capacity allowed users to keep fifty contacts and retain fifty SMS messages. But that’s not all. 


In the original press release, Nokia explained that it developed the phone for first-time users in Russia, India, China, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific. The company hoped to bring “the benefits of mobility to consumers in new-growth markets” with a practical, simple, and inexpensive mobile-phone option. 


With this goal in mind, the designers also gave the Nokia 1100 a keypad and front cover designed to protect against dust and sweat in humid weather. Users could pull the phone apart and purchase replacement parts when necessary rather than purchase an entirely new phone. The most impressive feature? Its battery power — a fully charged phone could stay on standby for 400 hours without powering down. Or, one very long, 4-hours-and-30-minute conversation. According to Global Media, Nokia initially sold the phone in the European market for €114.00 (about $100.00). 


In 2011, Nokia announced it had sold more than 250 million phones. In 2015, someone in Nigeria purchased phone number one billion (that’s 1,000,000,000). It’s still the world’s best-selling mobile phone by the number of units sold. 


M21D designated the Nokia 1100 as the first design in our study collection because of its durability and global prevalence. The phone warrants additional study into the environmental impact of its life cycle, affordability, the working conditions of its manufacturing, and social impacts.