Verizon iPhone Sales Help Apple Become Third-Largest Handset Brand In The U.S.

According to market research firm NPD, thanks to the Verizon iPhone 4 launch, Apple has now become the third-largest mobile phone brand in the U.S. Sales for Apple's smartphones have reached 14 percent of the U.S. market, ranking them ahead of HTC, Motorola, and RIM. Only Samsung and LG come ahead with 23 percent and 18 percent, respectively.

Launching on Verizon in February, the iPhone 4 has since become one of the top five best-selling smartphones in the U.S., with the iPhone 3GS, Motorola Droid X, HTC EVO 4G, and HTC Droid Incredible rounding out the rest of NPD's ranking. Certainly, the steep discounts given for the iPhone 3GS have helped fuel sales of the older generation unit.

"Apple and Verizon had a very successful launch of the iPhone 4, which allowed the iPhone to expand its market share that was previously held back by its prolonged carrier exclusivity with AT&T," said Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis at NPD. "While some of that growth came at the expense of Android operating system (OS), Android models still accounted for half of all smartphones sold in the quarter."

NPD also notes that for the first time a majority of all new mobile phone purchases in the U.S. were smartphones, coming in at 54 percent. When comparing mobile OS platforms, Android still maintains a 50 percent share of the market, although it dropped from the 53 percent share it commanded last quarter. Meanwhile, Apple iOS share increased by 9 percent now reaching 28 percent of smartphone sales.

[via NPD]