Motorola StarTAC cellphone (Wikipedia photo)

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Units sold: 60 million

Take a minute and think back to 1996. Jean Chrétien still had seven years left as Prime Minister. The year's highest-grossing movie was "Independence Day." Chat rooms were cool. See, if you look at things that way, it's not hard to comprehend that the year's hottest gadget was the Motorola StarTAC, a positively ancient phone by today's standards but perhaps the first consumer mobile to reach the mainstream.

The StarTAC was also the first ever flip/clamshell phone, which caused a big splash and prefaced the next phone, from the same manufacturer, you'll see on this list.

Though it's no longer in production, of course, the StarTAC first brought to millions several key cell phone features we take for granted today, including the SMS text message and vibrate alert.

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