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BlackBerry trumps iPhone in US smartphone sales

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.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Giving Phones Away

    Can't you imagine that if iPhones were given away the numbers would dwarf RIMs or anyone else's?
    Loss leaders don't work like they used to.

  1. ff11

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: Giving Phones Away

    I'm not aware of any of the Blacberry phones on the top 5 list are being given away. Do you know for a fact that they are?

  1. Constable Odo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    WS doesn't seem to care..

    about how much money RIM is making. They're only interested in market share and unit numbers. This is a phenomenon I don't entirely understand. I would always think that revenue and profits would be the most important factor. If you are practically giving products away then you are losing profit. It's not a business model that is sustainable. But that is exactly what WS is asking Apple to do. Cut prices and compete with loss leaders to sell more units and gain market share.

    But as you can see for yourself RIM's share price is steadily climbing faster than Apple's, so money in the bank, deferred revenue, high profits and Steve Jobs doesn't mean diddly to Wall Street or investors.

    And yes Verizon was offering a Buy One Get One Free for the top-of-line BlackBerrys. The ad stated ALL models included or whatever. So maybe it's not giving one away but it's still making a product be half-price if you get two of the same model.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969



    But as you can see for yourself RIM's share price is steadily climbing faster than Apple's, so money in the bank, deferred revenue, high profits and Steve Jobs doesn't mean diddly to Wall Street or investors.

    sometimes Wall Street/investors are retarded. Prior to the current recession, they rewarded a lot of banks and retailers for growth, assuming that all that growth would lead to greater profits down the road. Look how that turned out.

  1. dliup

    Joined: Dec 1969


    waiting for new iphone

    Everyone who thought about buying a new iPhone in the last quarter is WAITING for any possibly of a new iPhone in a month or so.

  1. luckyday

    Joined: Dec 1969



    dliup - Your statement implies that people are only buying iphones during half its lifecycle, since the iphone came out in June 2009, and the study included numbers from January 1, 2009. Even if "waiting for the new model" is the real reason, is that a good thing? Certainly says a lot about apple's relationship with their customers.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Giving phones

    Yeah, because we all know Apple is selling iPhones at full price. Oh wait, no they aren't. They're selling them subsidized. Damn, who would guess.

    But we don't know what kind of profit Apple is making per iPhone, how much the 'cost' of the iPhone is or anything else. But we're sure Apple is making huge profits on the iPhone, and Blackberry is selling below cost.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: waiting for new

    Everyone who thought about buying a new iPhone in the last quarter is WAITING for any possibly of a new iPhone in a month or so.

    Well, like luckyday said, its actually anywhere from 1 to 5 months or so.

    And for what are people waiting? Oh, right, no one knows. There's talk of a video camera and useless 4G capabilities. I've heard nothing else. And all this is conjecture.

    So you're argument is a large band of potential iPhone customers are waiting until a mythical new version comes out with possible new features that's going to make it the must-have device.

    Oh, and on top of all of this. What is your point? Are you seriously trying to suggest this group of waiters numbers several million? Because it would take that much just to get close to RIM's numbers.

  1. andrewbw

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I can't stand some of you

    I love how the MOMENT anyone might POSSIBLY be doing something better than Apple (shock! RIM has been celling smart phones to a wider market for longer! they might be better at it!) all the high-school MacNN pundits come out of the woodwork to assume RIM isn't making money, selling phones below cost of manufacture, etc.

    So how come Apple was able to go from charging $400 a phone to $200 a phone? Where was the assumption that Apple was losing money, etc? Oh, that's right, because Apple traded up-front revenue for a cut of contract amounts. JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER CELL PHONE COMPANY.

    Seriously, idiots. It doesn't mean anyone is attacking Apple if someone else happens to be doing a little better.

    A smarter observation would be to note that Apple has a nicely diversified universe: phones, computers, personal music players, software, etc. across a variety of markets, whereas RIM just has its cell phone and server business.

  1. appleuzr

    Joined: Dec 1969



    How bout Buy one blackberry and get one of equal or lesser value for free. Every heard of that deal Verizon has been running for say the last 4 months or so. That's called giving them away.

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