Q4 IDC Results Are In: BlackBerry Curve Yet Again Tops List of Best-Selling Smartphones in the USA

Best-Selling Smartphone in Q4 - the BlackBerry Curve
By Kevin Michaluk on 8 Feb 2010 04:57 pm EST

There's now the original BlackBerry Curve 83xx series, the BlackBerry Curve 8900 and the more newly-released BlackBerry Curve 8520/30 on the market... that's a lot of Curves available for purchase on a lot of carriers in the USA. And according to the IDC Mobile Devices and Technology Trends division that tracks these things the BlackBerry Curve was yet again the best-selling smartphone in the USA for the calendar Q4 part of 2009. The top 10 smartphones sold in America were as follows:

1. RIM - BlackBerry Curve
2. Apple - iPhone 3G S
3. Motorola - DROID
4. Apple - iPhone 3G
5. RIM - BlackBerry Pearl
6. RIM - BlackBerry Bold
7. RIM - BlackBerry Storm

8. Palm - Pre
9. RIM - BlackBerry Tour
10. T-Mobile - myTouch 3G 

Pretty solid results for RIM considering they cover 50% of the top ten. They had this to say on it:

With the BlackBerry brand occupying 5 of the top 10 smartphone models, it is clear that RIM continues to have the broadest and most popular range of smartphones for different customers in the United States. RIM has shipped over 75 million smartphones to date, including a record 10 million smartphones during its latest quarter alone.

There's a couple interesting points here to think on.... 1) why do all the BlackBerry Curves get grouped together while the iPhone 3G and 3GS get separated out? I wonder if the iPhones were grouped if they'd beat out the Curves? 2) which Curves are selling? If it's mainly the 83xx series (that you can get for essentially free these days) that's flying out the door, is that sort of a bad thing for RIM longer-term as the device they're selling the most of is the one that's essentially most out of date and delivering the least-stellar BlackBerry experience of what's currently available? RIM is all about apps these days, and the Curve 83xx do the least-good job of running apps. Following this notion, it's a little surprising that the Pearl is outselling the Bold, Storm and Tour (though it is available from more carriers in the US than any of the other non-Curve devices).  3) I wonder what 2010 is going to look like? The Curve dominated 2009...  any bets on what we'll see this year?!

Congrats again to RIM for kicking some BlackBerry butt in the US market! And a BIG welcome to any BlackBerry owners out there stumbling onto CrackBerry.com for the first time who fall into these Q4 stats. You've found the online destination for all things BlackBerry. Spread the word!

Reader comments

Q4 IDC Results Are In: BlackBerry Curve Yet Again Tops List of Best-Selling Smartphones in the USA


Let alone that people are using up the old technology. Little do they know if they were not so cheap that there are "good" Blackberry's to be had. Maybe this has something to do with the bad economy?

Thought that it would be clear if I stated an opinion that it was an opinion. So in my opinion they are old out-dated and too slow for my tastes even my 9630 was pretty crappy till I got OS 5.0 on it.

That doesn't have anything to do with how "new" it is.

The 9630 running 4.7.1 is slower than the 9000 running 4.6.X.

9000 is in the same generation as 9630 same look feel yadda yadda in my opinion. If you don't enjoy my opinion ridicule it more...

Sure, same "generation" except the completely different chipset, different rev of the OS, different radios, etc etc... Not mentioning the difference in release time.

What a bogus sales statistic.They need to at least separate the sales numbers of each sub-series of Curve,the 83xx,85xx,and 8900 models.

We don't really know which devices sold the most. The capability difference in the curve line is vast, and lumping them together blurs what is really going on. And then to separate the 3G and 3G S? Aren't those phones more similar than say an 8310 and an 8900?

For the early 2009 numbers I found out that the 8900 was not included. The 85xx series was not around at the time, so I don't know if these 4Q 2009 numbers include it or not (I would guess that they do)

If the different curve models are lumped in together, shouldn't the iPhone's be lumped in together too?

EDIT: nevermind I read the rest of the post...

It would be very interesting to see the actual sales numbers for that that list for that period... I would like to know total BlackBerries vs total Iphones (disregarding model)...

The consumer market is huge, but don't forget the corporate markets. They are selling the curves by the dozen. Also why wouldn't the pearl do so well? People don't always want a bulky phone.

Time to grow out of your geek shell guys. Not everybody wants a tour or bold.

I know that my company is still issuing 8320's and 8820's even though the 8520 and 9700 were released late last year.

Probably because the economy is not doing as great as everyone was expecting, so cheaper phones save money, I guess.


The other thing that is keeping these companies buying curves is the fact the various departments take forever and a month to approve new technology. everyone and there dog knows trackballs suck. they have so many issues and that the new trackpads are working significantly better. but someone has to sign off. and that takes for ever.

IMO The current Pearl models 8100 whatevers are completely inferior to the newer, faster processor, better screen resolution much more caapable not waiting for hour-glass Blackberry's. But hey that's my opinion stay back in time all you want with all the old guys :p

I have an 8130 and will put up with the "Hour Glass" theme "till Tour 2 comes to Sprint. My choice, my money, my time. I will miss the "SureType", just want a larger screen.

Because I like typing with one hand. I'm currently on the Tour but I don't think screen resolution will hold me back we shall see. =)

Some applications aren't totally visible because of the small screen, eg: Poynt, OntoCalendar.. maybe they work better on a larger screen.

But I use very few apps. I think the resolution is supposed to be better on the 9100 than that of the 8100 i don't remember for sure what it was though.

I too agree that they should either lump the 3G and the 3GS together or separate the curve models... either way will work.

The results aren't fair Rhys why people care if the iPhone was lumped together we all know who would be number 1

And if the BlackBerries were lumped together?

Since the two lines (BlackBerry and iPhone) aren't neatly analogous, any sort of lumping-together of either is going to produce somewhat arbitrary comparison results...

Blackberry 8520 has been the highest selling CONTRACT (thats outta all phones, not just smartphones) device for every week this year so far in the UK across all networks!! impressive!

i agree... I have it, or rather, had it, and I didn't like it much. It's a neat little phone, but it's not comparable to any blackberry. I'd take the 8300 over the magic any day. haha.

I'm just amazed that half of the list is all five of the Blackberry devices in their current lineup.

I wonder, if RIM didn't have to split up the Bold and Tour lines, how would the two models do in the list as one device?

Of course if they grouped the iPhones together they would win apple has sold 75 million iPhones while blackberrysightongs whole line up has die the same. Emphasis on whole line- up

Um.... no??? Look at RIM's own statement. This last quarter they sold a RECORD 10 million. No way they did 45 million in one quarter.

They also said, "to date, 75 million" blackberrys have been sold. That is a LOT less than what you're saying.

That said.... I think the Android platform is going to take over. I'm going to sell my storm 9350 and jump on the Nexus One the second Verizon releases it this Spring. Can't wait

Q4 2009 Unit Shipments
- RIM 10.7 million
- APL 08.7 million

YR 2009 Unit Shipments
- RIM 34.5 million
- APL 25.1 million

Is it really unfair to Apple to separate their iPhones into 2 categories, when RIM's BlackBerry phones are divided into 5 categories? It's the same platform, really. The BlackBerry software that I've written will run on every single one of those BlackBerry models. Arguably, separating RIM's phones into 5 categories puts the BlackBerry line at a disadvantage.

A more meaningful ranking should rank phones according to the underlying platform: iPhone OS, BlackBerry OS, WebOS (Palm), Android etc.

But are they really necessary? If apple sold 8 trillion phones would it really make them better? I'm not bashing apple but don't understand why the fan boys spend so much time on THIS site trying to convince berry users that apple is superiorm

On the other hand, I'm sure iphones would sell much more if they were available on more than 1 carrier

The only reason that the curve is the best selling smartphone in america is because there are like 3 different version of it and it is available on 5 or 6 different carriers. I guarantee you if the curve was exclusive to evil ass at&t and had to be on the expensive data plan like the iPhone it would even come close. So don't get too high on your horse there blackberry

well that just shows how smart RIM is to not restrict the device to any one carrier. That is why they are outselling apple, because people have their carrier of choice and not being stuck with lame at&t.. i have had two iphones and at&t's network is just as bad as it was when it was Cingular, so at this point they've had 3 chances to prove themselves to me, and im totally done with them.

When I did my due diligence last year on my 1st smartphone, the 8330 was one of the very best rated for what I was looking for. Fast forward a few months and its outdated and probably never to be updated again(8330m) I would love a 9700 but I am not on the right carrier and I really can't afford the hundreds of dollars to get an unlocked phone or break contracts. It doesn't mean I'm cheap or out of touch. However, I will probably get the "Summit 11020" or the "Jupiter 22000" or whatever it is when the contract's up...and then it will be outdated in 3 months.
Sorry, bit of a rant, my point is this- if the "entry-level" devices pull new people into RIM world, and they end up sticking with them, isn't that awesome for blackberryland? Or is it really just about hating on anything that costs less than the price of a notebook computer?

It is an impressive feat for sure. When I look at the list I see the Droid making good gains. With more and more phones coming into the market, like the Droid, how much longer can Blackberry hold on. Faster processors, multi-touch, led screens, and thousands of apps might just have an impact next year. Especially if iphone goes to Verizon.

Don't forget about the things RIM has planned for the BlackBerry platform though. Flash, Webkit, Widgets, OS 5.1...all of this is going to contribute to RIM as well.

says alot it being where it is in the top 10 considering how well established both iphone and blackberry are.

if moto puts a more traditional type staggard keypad on the next droid, and they can speed up the camera on it, i may have my first non blackberry for the first time in a long long time lol.

I love BlackBerry! My first one was an 8320 and it was great. As technology moved up, it was not so great (it is still very useful) I bought a Bold 9700! now I am very pleased. I think the Bold 2 will move up the ladder. I also think that carriers having phones exclusively to them, sales will not be as good as they can. In other words, RIM has it great because their smartphones (some of them) are not exclusive to 1 carrier thus the sales are great! If others catch on, we will see how the race will go. I still believe that BlackBerry will maintain spots in the top 10 no matter what! Keep getting it RIM!

The survey is a joke in the way things are grouped.

This is probably the peak before the slide for RIM. The Android platform will start eating significant RIM market-share in 2010. All I got to say is OS6 better be something special.

ok cool. RIM's devices cover 50% of the top 10.

Grouping Curve models but not iPhone does skew the data somewhat. We've covered that

Some say BLACKBERRY is the best, other say iPhone is the best. Or WinMo. or Droid. Or.....

Thing is people... the BEST smartphone is 1) one that works with your provider with good reliability. 2) one that suits your NEEDS (productivity) 3) one that fits your WANTS (entertainment, apps, etc)

I don't care if the iPhone can run circles around my current device. If the iPhone doesn't suit my needs and wants, I'm wasting my money

I also don't care if after spending top dollar for the ABSOLUTE NEWEST Blackberry (Tour, 9700, take your pick...) if I don't have good reception for it to function 100% I'm wasting my time.

Not everyone is concerned with brandname. If I spend my hard-earned $$$ on a device, I want it to work... Regardless of how "cool" it may or may not be. Or if it was in the Top 10 (with its slightly skewed data)

Happy to see RIM doing so well. And while Android is my favorite OS(with RIM a close second), I'm happy to see it at number one. And this is the ONLY poll that I've seen that seperates the IPhone 3g from the IPhone 3gS.

I wonder if it will hurt RIM in the long run that there phones last so long. I still see a lot of people rocking the 8800 world edition. I also think RIM needs to make sure they get out updates (os 5.0) for the older curve models so that their brand image can continue to stay relevant. How many people are using a 4.7 os and as such think badly of the blackberry UI?

BB's are naturally going to sell more in a cheap economy. I have a curve. It came with a spinning hour glass for some reason. Once Verizon gets the iphone and tethering capabilities. I always wanted to see how far I can skip a Berry down off the waters edge.

There are several different curves. I bet if the iphone was sold on every carrier the iphone would hammer bb. I have the storm 2 and I'm on my third one. When droid come out with a new phone I'm thru with bb. The apps suck and the internet is ALWAYS DOWN.

"If it's mainly the 83xx series (that you can get for essentially free these days) that's flying out the door, is that sort of a bad thing for RIM longer-term as the device they're selling the most of is the one that's essentially most out of date and delivering the least-stellar BlackBerry experience of what's currently available?"

Good point. Maybe that means "cheap" has even more power than iAnything?

When you go to a movie, you pay six bucks or more for popcorn that would cost you about 25 cents to make at home. Wine at a restaurant? At least 2-4 times the retail price. The device manufacturers learned a good lesson about captive audiences and how to open their wallets.

The fact is, marketing and channels sell more devices than feature or function ever will. Getting big carriers to sell your devices means you WILL sell devices, whether they're good or not. That's not bad for RIM as long as they keep their channel partners happy. They don't need glamor, they need revenue, and that's how to get it.

The curve is a great entry level blackberry but make no mistake the Sprint Tour is the TOTAL PACKAGE (minus the wifi feature) The Iphone is a 300$ POS and anything from Palm isnt worth the plastic its made from. A piece of advice play with the curve until your ready for real BlackBerry. Drop the cash and take the ultimate Tour from sprint!!!!!!