IPhone 3G Now the Most Purchased Mobile Phone in US

As if Apple’s iPhone needed even more accolades and attention, the NPD group, a research and analysis organization serving the wireless communications industry, has announced that the iPhone 3G is now the most purchased mobile phone by U. S. adults.

According to marketwatch.com, in the third quarter of 2008, the iPhone leaped ahead of its nearest rival, the Motorola RAZR, which has been the most successful cell phone sold in the US over the last four years. Overall though, the sagging economy has affected the numbers of cell phones purchased so far in 2008. Sales of handset wireless phones declined by approximately 15% in the year to date, while the average retail price of phones has increased 6%.

As the iPhone takes the lead over the Motorola RAZR, analysts say there is a major shift taking place in consumer trends. Phones that are optimized for instant messaging and other Internet features are trending upward, with the iPhone leading the pack.

In the third quarter of 2008 the top ranked mobile phones, based on adult sales were:

  • Apple’s iPhone (3G)
  • Motorola’s RAZR (V3)
  • RIM’s Blackberry Curve
  • LG’s Rumor
  • LG’s enV2

Researchers say that mobile phone purchasers are separating into two distinct categories: those who used their phones primarily for talking or text messaging, known as “voice-centric” users; and those who routinely use wireless Internet features, access e-mail and FaceBook accounts, and download videos or MP3s their phone.

Obviously the second category of user tends to prefer “all-singing, all-dancing” mobile Internet-friendly phones like the iPod. It is the growth in this segment of the market that is driving the increased sales for Apple, and leaving many of the old voice-centric mobile phones to gather dust.

According to NPD’s survey data, other features also weighted heavily on consumer’s decisions when purchasing a new phone. 43% of surveyed buyers reported that a built in camera was an important feature that would affect their buying decision.

Mobile phones with QWERTY keyboards have also been experiencing a rise in popularity. NPD reports that 30% of the cell phones sold in the U. S. in the third quarter of 2008 had some type of QWERTY keyboard — compared to only 11% of phones sold in 2007.

The trends show that smartphones, like the Apple iPhone 3G are becoming more popular, especially as wireless Internet networks become more commonplace throughout the country, and connection speeds continue to improve. If the current trends continue, by 2010 it may be next to impossible to purchase a mobile phone that does not include Internet access and other smart phone features.


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