NPD: iPhone 4 Reigns, Smartphones Rule

The iPhone 4 has solidified its position as the most popular smartphone among U.S. consumers--no doubt boosted by Verizon--according to the NPD Group. The bigger news, however, might be the rise of smartphones overall.

Smartphones accounted for 54 percent of all phone sales to U.S. consumers last quarter, NPD reports, marking the first time that smartphones made up the majority of mobile phone sales. Average smartphone prices dropped 3 percent to $145, but average phone prices rose 2 percent to $102, suggesting that more people are willing to pay a premium for phones with touch screens, web connections and apps.

Leading the smartphone pack for U.S. consumers was the iPhone 4, followed by the iPhone 3GS, Motorola's Droid X, HTC's EVO 4G, and HTC's Droid Incredible. New phones on the market, such as Motorola's Atrix 4G and HTC's Thunderbolt, were presumably too young to become breakout hits in the first quarter.

Lest the Android fans get feisty, I'll point out the obvious: Although the iPhone 4 is the most popular phone among U.S. consumers, Android is still the best-selling platform, thanks to the wide variety of devices on all major U.S. carriers. This may explain why Samsung and LG are still the biggest handset brands in the United States, ahead of Apple.

But it's not all roses for Android. Market share for Google's platform fell 2 percent last quarter, to 50 percent of consumer smartphone sales. Still, that's way above the iPhone's 28 percent share and Blackberry's 14 percent share. (Keep in mind that NPD only tracks consumers. Blackberry's share would be much higher if the enterprise counted.)

As for Windows Phone 7? No mention of it in NPD's report.

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