updated 10:05 am EST, Mon November 10, 2008
iPhone 3G tops NPD Q3 2008
The iPhone 3G outsold even Motorola's ubiquitous RAZR V3 cellphone to take the lead in the US cellphone market during the summer, according to the NPD Group. The July 11th launch and continued strong sales have reportedly put an end to the RAZR's three-year stint at the top of sales rankings in the country and is said by the researchers to signal a "watershed shift" away from purely designer-focused phones towards smartphones and other advanced devices where messaging is important.
The BlackBerry Curve was the only other smartphone to reach the top five, occupying third place; the fourth and fifth places were occupied by the LG Rumor and LG Keybo, both of which are limited feature phones with an emphasis on a full QWERTY keyboard.
Apple's win came even as summer phone sales dropped 15 percent year over year to 32 million units. Revenues from phones also dropped to 10 percent despite the iPhone 3G's $199 minimum price helping boost the average cost of a phone slightly to $88.
The analysts also observe that both demand and actual included features also favor the top phones. About 43 percent of users have said a camera would be an important feature, while 36 percent want SMS. About 30 percent of phone models now have a QWERTY keyboard versus 10 percent a year ago, while 83 percent have Bluetooth. Music-oriented phones saw a significant boost from 49 percent to 68 percent.
However, the iPhone and other devices are described as causing a rift between high- and low-end customers. While significant growth has come from owners of iPhones, BlackBerries and other devices that depend on heavy data use, many user of the RAZR and other lower-end devices often keep solely to voice and avoid extras, creating a problem for carriers hoping to boost their average revenue per user.