Like it or not, the Blackberry did have a strong quarter according to NPD.  The Blackberry comes in more varieties, often much cheaper than the iPhone and it is available on every wireless network  –  including what many percieve to be the best in the US, Verizon.  Apple is, so far,  sticking to just AT&T.

An aggressive “buy-one-get-one” promotion by Verizon Wireless helped Research in Motion’s BlackBerry Curve move past Apple’s iPhone to become the best-selling consumer smartphone in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2009.  RIM’s consumer smartphone market share increased 15 percent to nearly 50 percent of the smartphone market in the first quarter versus the prior quarter, as Cupertino-based Apple Inc.’s and Sunnyvale-based Palm Inc.’s share both declined 10 percent each.

NPD Group Inc. said that the top five best-selling smartphones in the quarter were:
1) BlackBerry Curve
2) Apple’s iPhone 3G (all models)
3) BlackBerry Storm
4) BlackBerry Pearl (all models except flip)
5) T-Mobile G1

“Verizon Wireless’s aggressive marketing of the BlackBerry Storm and its buy-one-get-one BlackBerry promotion to its large customer base contributed to RIM capturing three of the top five positions,” said Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis at The NPD Group. “The more familiar, and less expensive, Curve benefited from these giveaways and was able to leapfrog the iPhone, due to its broader availability on the four major U.S. national carriers.”

Smartphones, which represented just 17 percent of handset sales volume in the first quarter of 2008, now make up 23 percent of sales. “Even in this challenging economy, consumers are migrating toward Web-capable handsets and t1eir supporting data plans to access more information and entertainment on the go.” Rubin said.

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