iPhone Outsold By BlackBerry Curve In U.S. Last Quarter

Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone was not the most-purchased consumer smartphone in the first quarter, according to research firm NPD Group. That title goes to RIM’s (RIMM) BlackBerry Curve 8300 series, which was on sale at more carriers and had the benefit of a buy-one, get-one free sale at Verizon Wireless during the quarter.

Based on U.S. consumer sales of  smartphone handsets in NPD’s “Smartphone Market Update” report, the first-quarter 2009 ranking of the top-five best- selling smartphones is as follows:

1. RIM BlackBerry Curve (all 83XX models)
2. Apple iPhone 3G (all models)
3. RIM BlackBerry Storm
4. RIM BlackBerry Pearl (all models, except flip)
5. T-Mobile G1

Overall, smartphones made up 23% of U.S. phone sales in Q1, up from 17% during Q1 ’08. That’s good news for wireless carriers, as smartphone subscribers spend roughly 1.5x as much per month on service per month as people with “dumb” phones.

AT&T said it activated 1.6 million iPhones during Q1, so that could provide a yardstick for how well RIM did.

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