New report: iPhone 3G S a hit

(updated below)

VentureBeat‘s Paul Boutin reports today on a new smartphone sales report, but methinks he missed the real news.

iphone3gs_2upThe new data comes from IDC. Boutin makes much of the fact that according to IDC’s report — at least as quoted by him; I’ve only seen the press release, not the full report — the BlackBerry Curve was the top-selling smartphone in the United States last quarter, outselling the iPhone 3G S.

“Despite all the buzz, attention and money thrown at iPhones and anything to do with iPhones, the new iPhone 3G S came in second,” Boutin writes.

He then goes on to acknowledge that some folks, with good reason, might dispute IDC’s numbers. He notes that IDC estimates sales not based on the numbers it gets directly from companies but through sources at suppliers and through other data.

Regardless of what you think of IDC’s methodology, there’s good reason to criticize Boutin’s own report. What it’s missing are some important details and context.

To wit: the latest iteration of the BlackBerry Curve has been on store shelves since February. The iPhone 3G S wasn’t available until June 19.

Given that, it’s not surprising that the Curve outsold the iPhone 3G S. Research in Motion’s device was available for the entire three-month period, while the iPhone was only on sale for the last 12 days of it.

What is surprising — or not, depending on how much of an iPhone fan you are — is that despite being on store shelves for only 12 days, the iPhone 3G S outsold every other smartphone in the U.S. besides the BlackBerry Curve. And, given that Apple sold 1 million iPhone 3G Ss in the first three days it was available, I’m guessing its run rate was much higher during that 12-day period than the Curve’s.

There were two other interesting tidbits from the report. First, Palm’s Pre, which, like the iPhone 3G, was only on store shelves for a fraction of a month during the quarter, was the eigth-best selling smartphone in the three-month period. Palm did that despite being reported supply constrained and having the phone exclusively tied to Sprint, the no. 3 wireless carrier.

Second, the fourth-best selling smartphone during the period was the iPhone 3G. This despite the fact that the phone was nearly a year old and the Web was filled with rumors that a replacement model was on its way.

Apple clearly has a hit on its hands with the 3G S, which IDC’s data — if not Boutin’s report — makes plain.

UPDATE: I just got a note from the folks at IDC. The rankings of smarphones came not from the research firm itself — at least not directly — but from FierceWireless, an online trade publication. FierceWireless puts together a list of the top 10 best selling smartphones based on IDC’s data. The list for the second quarter can be accessed here.

Another interesting note from the FierceWireless report: Each of the major carriers in the U.S. has some iteration of the BlackBerry Curve. For better or worse, the only carrier for the iPhone is AT&T.


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  • Pat

    How much does Apple pay you for the edorsement. The iPhone is just awful, the technology is four years old. The Palm Pre and Droid is faster, up to date, and has thousands more applications. It’s a free market. Apple is a cult.