BlackBerry Curve outsells iPhone in US

RIM's BlackBerry Curve overtook the iPhone 3G to become the top-selling smartphone in the US in Q1, researchers NPD Group said.

RIM's market share grew by 15% to nearly 50% of the smartphone market, even as Apple's and Palm's share declined 10% each, NPD said.

RIM also took third and fourth spot on the top five list with its Storm and Pearl handsets, while T-

Mobile's Android-powered G1 placed fifth.

“Verizon Wireless’s aggressive marketing of the BlackBerry Storm and its buy-one-get-one BlackBerry promotion to its large customer base contributed to RIM capturing three of the top five positions,” said Ross Rubin, NPD director of industry analysis.

“The more familiar, and less expensive, Curve benefited from these giveaways and was able to leapfrog the iPhone, due to its broader availability on the four major US national carriers.”

Smartphone sales as a proportion of handset sales grew six points to 23%, NPD said.

RIM yesterday told investors and media the company was planning a next-generation version of its consumer-focused Storm.

The company hopes to continue its growth in the consumer market, which now contributes to more than half of its 25 million subscribers.