It seems that the venerable has been overtaken by the RIM BlackBerry Curve (in all of its “83xx” variants) in the first quarter of the 2009 US smartphone popularity contest. According to NPD, RIM’s US smartphone market share increased some 15% to give the BlackBerry-maker a 50% smartphone market share, knocking the iPhone 3G down to the runner-up position in US smartphone rankings. Aggressive marketing and the BlackBerry Curve’s availability through all four major national wireless carriers are attributed with helping RIM overtake Apple as the consumer’s choice for smartphones.
Verizon Wireless is credited with helping to boost RIM’s smartphone popularity through its “buy one, get one free” promotional offer. The sales tactic also helped RIM nab the No. 3 and No. 4 spots among the Top 5 most-popular US smartphones – the BlackBerry Storm is now the third most-popular smartphone, while the BlackBerry Pearl (and all its non-Flip variants) enjoys being the fourth most-popular smartphone.
The research also shows that the US smartphone market grew some 17% to account for 23% of the total mobile market, proving that the smartphone revolution continues to spread despite a wallowing global economy.
With the third-generation of iPhone hardware expected to launch in mere months, and Palm’s hotly-anticipated Palm Pre due to launch even sooner, RIM is going to have a tough time keeping the BlackBerry Curve atop the list of most-popular US smartphones. Although, with an unofficial endorsement from President Obama, the BlackBerry Curve may live to see even better days!
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