NPD claims Android sold more than iPhone in US during Q1 2010
Google device now second only to BlackBerry
That's according to statistics based on unit sales to consumers in the first quarter of 2010, with RIM reportedly holding top spot on 36 percent, Android moving into second with 28 percent, and iPhone slipping to third on 21 percent.
It's something of a shocking claim given most smartphone markets estimates in the States have consistently shown RIM and Apple tussling for the top spot.
Indeed, statistics released by research firm comScore back in April (with data from February) suggested Android though growing fast was actually only the fourth largest OS across the country, accounting for 9 percent of the market.
However, NPD most known in tech circles for its monthly console sales reports claims continued sales of Motorola's Droid have helped Android push past iPhone to take the number two position.
And it's notable that its figure are just based on Q1 sales, not accumulated sales as with comScore.
Smartphone unit prices averaged $151 in Q1 2010, which is a 3 percent decrease over the previous year.
The average selling price for all mobile phones in Q1 reached $88, a 5 percent increase from Q1 2009.
"As in the past, carrier distribution and promotion have played a crucial role in determining smartphone market share," says Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis at NPD.
"In order to compete with the iPhone, Verizon Wireless has expanded its buy-one-get-one offer beyond RIM devices to now include all of their smartphones."
NPD cites strong promotion by Verizon of its BlackBerry and Android handsets as a major force behind their respective successes.
Verizon, of course, is involved in its own tussle with AT&T, which still holds an exclusive license to sell iPhone in the States. It's a battle that seems to be benefiting both of iPhone's major rivals.
Windows and co
However, the NPD predicts this will soon be anything but a three horse race, with the firm claim consumer demand and a willingness to invest in the industry will fuel future growth.
"Recent previews of BlackBerry 6 OS, the recently announced acquisition of Palm by HP, and the pending release of Windows Phone 7 demonstrates the industrys willingness to make investments to address consumer demand for smartphones and other mobile devices," adds Rubin.
"Carriers continue to offer attractive pricing for devices, but will need to present other data-plan options to attract more customers in the future."