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BlackBerry Curve outsells Apple's iPhone

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RIM's BlackBerry Curve has managed to position itself as the best-selling smartphone in the US by capturing nearly 50 percent of the consumer market in Q1 2009.

The NPD Group attributed Curve's success to Verizon's "buy-one-get-one" aggressive promotional campaign.

"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," explained 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 US national carriers."

Smartphones, which represented just 17 percent of handset sales volume in Q1 2008, currently account for 23 percent of sales.

"Even in this challenging economy, consumers are migrating toward Web-capable handsets and their supporting data plans to access more information and entertainment on the go," said Rubin.

The first-quarter 2009 ranking of the top-five best-selling smartphones is as follows:

* RIM BlackBerry Curve (all 83XX models)
* Apple iPhone 3G (all models)
* RIM BlackBerry Storm
* RIM BlackBerry Pearl (all models, except flip)
* T-Mobile G1

UPDATE:

Rubin told that carriers have "tremendous" leverage in determining smartphone success in the US market.

"Three of the top five handsets have been heavily promoted as exclusive hero handsets by carriers while the leading BlackBerry Curve enjoys distribution on all major carriers," added Rubin.

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