updated 08:55 am EDT, Wed August 5, 2009
IDC Spring US Sphone Sales
Despite a major phone launch, Apple's iPhone lineup was just edged out by Research in Motion's BlackBerry devices in US sales during the spring, according to IDC. Despite a high profile launch, the iPhone 3GS came in second while the BlackBerry Curve series took the lead. Of the top five, three were BlackBerries and included the original Pearl in third place as well as the AT&T-only Bold in fifth place. Apple's iPhone 3G came in fourth.
Below these were predominantly less popular operating systems. Although an achievement for a company whose smartphone sales have dropped rapidly in recent quarters, Palm's Pre only managed eighth place and was eclipsed by the Android-based T-Mobile G1 in seventh. RIM's one-time iPhone rival the BlackBerry Storm only reached sixth place, while HTC's Windows Mobile-running Touch Pro and Touch Diamond were tenth and ninth respectively.
IDC hasn't provided specific sales numbers for the devices and therefore makes it difficult to gauge a leader by brand. RIM' most recent quarter ended in May, a month before the iPhone 3GS launch and a price cut on the iPhone 3G. Apple's quarter also represents an incomplete picture, as AT&T activated 2.4 million iPhones between April and June but could only register less than two weeks of iPhone 3GS sales and three weeks of price-reduced iPhone 3G models. Apple has struggled to keep up with high demand for the 3GS since shortly after launch.
Much of RIM's apparent advantage is understood by IDC to stem from distribution. The Curve 8300 and Pearl are available at every major US carrier while the 8900 is available through both AT&T and T-Mobile. In comparison, the iPhone, G1, Pre and Storm are only available at one carrier each. The same explanations aren't given for the Windows Mobile phones, which fared poorly in spite of being available through at least two larger carriers. The aging foundations of the Microsoft OS, which leave it with poorer media and web features, may have contributed to its sales shortfall.
The chart nonetheless shows continued dominance by both Apple and RIM and has touchscreen models increasingly commanding the American smartphone business with seven out of the top ten phones relying mostly, if not almost exclusively, on touch input.