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BlackBerry Curve outsells the iPhone 3G

Aggressive "buy one, get one" promotion by Verizon Wireless helps boost RIM's consumer BlackBerry market share by 15 percent for the first quarter, NPD says.

The smartphone sales race may be closer than expected.

Research In Motion's BlackBerry Curve overtook Apple's iPhone to become the top-selling consumer smartphone in the United States during the first quarter of 2009, according to research published by NPD Group on Monday.

NPD's monthly "Smartphone Market Update" report, based on online surveys of consumers, now ranks the best-selling consumer smartphones in the U.S. 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

NPD attributed the recent BlackBerry sales surge to an aggressive "buy one, get one free" promotion for the phone by carrier Verizon Wireless. It helped boost RIM's share of the consumer smartphone market 15 percent to capture nearly 50 percent of the market in the first quarter, NPD said in a statement.

"Verizon Wireless' 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 (in U.S. smartphone sales)," Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis at NPD, said in a statement. "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 U.S. national carriers."