updated 10:05 am EDT, Mon May 4, 2009
NPD on US Phones Q1 2009
BlackBerries nearly dominated iPhones in US smartphone sales for the start of 2009, the NPD Group said today in a new study. The market researchers note that the top-selling phone line from the quarter ended in March was the BlackBerry Curve 8300 series, which edged out the iPhone 3G at second place. Of the top 5 phones, 3 were BlackBerries and included the touchscreen Storm in third place and the non-flip Pearl in fourth. The lone Android phone in the US, T-Mobile's G1, occupied the fifth spot.
Much of the benefit has stemmed from the wider availability of BlackBerry creator RIM's phones. While the Storm is limited to Verizon, the older Curve is available on nearly all significant US carriers in some form and is often discounted, including through a recent Verizon campaign that encouraged users to get multiple BlackBerries for a family by offering two BlackBerry Curves at the price of one. The Pearl is also much less expensive and in some cases is given out for free.
RIM's success comes in spite of an economic slump and has helped push smartphones into greater relevance in the US; the advanced hardware now represents nearly a quarter of all US phone sales at about 23 percent, up sharply from 17 percent in early 2008 and flat with late 2008 results even as customers were feared more likely to be scaling back.
The win reflects RIM's worldwide success at the start of the year, as it shipped about 7.8 million BlackBerries, or more than twice as much as Apple's 3.8 million iPhones. In the US, Apple is limited to AT&T and maintains a $199 minimum asking price.