Third quarter smartphone sales almost tripled year-over-year — excellent news for companies peddling high-end phones like Apple’s iPhones (AAPL) and Research In Motion’s BlackBerries (RIMM), and good news for Google (GOOG), which is working with partners to bring new “Android” smartphones to market next year.
Research firm NPD Group says Americans bought about 4.2 million smartphones last quarter: 11% of 38 million phones sold. That’s a roughly 180% increase over the same quarter a year ago when Americans bought about 1.5 million smartphones, or 4% of the 36.5 million phones sold in 3Q06.
NPD’s figures make Apple’s Sept. quarter iPhone sales look even more stellar. Apple sold 1.12 million iPhones last quarter, representing 27% of NPD’s U.S. smartphone market and 3% of the overall Q3 mobile phone market.