Verizon iPhone ate into Android dominance, NPD says

Research firm NPD Group said Thursday that the introduction of the iPhone on Verizon did help Apple to eat into at least some of the Android platform's dominance of the smartphone industry in recent quarters. Additionally, the higher sales made Apple the third largest smartphone manufacturer in the United States.

The iPhone 4 was the best selling phone in the United States, followed by the iPhone 3GS, the Motorola Droid X, HTC Evo, and the HTC Incredible. The fact that the 3GS -- now a nearly two year old device -- still is one of the top selling smartphones in this country goes to show that rumors of Apple's downfall in this sector may be greatly exaggerated.

Apple had a 14 percent share of the market in the first quarter of this year, only eclipsed by Samsung's 23 percent share and LG's 18 percent. Overall unit sales increased 8 percent from the previous quarter, the firm said.

"Apple and Verizon had a very successful launch of the iPhone 4, which allowed the iPhone to expand its market share that was previously held back by its prolonged carrier exclusivity with AT&T," NPD's executive director Ross Rubin said of the results.

Android OS lost three points to make up half of all smartphone sales, while iOS increased nine percent to 28 percent of the market. RIM's BlackBerry OS fell five percent to 14 percent, signaling continuing sales weakness for the Canadian smartphone maker.

The fall in market share for Android was the first recorded by NPD since the second quarter of 2009. It also seems to suggest that Apple's long-term market exclusivity with AT&T may have hurt Cupertino more than have helped it, and with rumors of iPhones being tested on T-Mobile's 3G bands, apparently a mistake Apple is ready to correct if need be.

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