Despite four years on the market, Motorola's RAZR V3 is still the best-selling cellphone in the US, the NPD Group says. While exact market share isn't published, the researchers put the clamshell design above the second-place iPhone 3G as well as the BlackBerry Curve, LG Chocolate and BlackBerry Pearl in the top five. The RAZR earns its position primarily through its sheer availability, as the device sells through nearly all major and minor carriers in the US and is often available for free or at a low price on a contract.
Regardless, the RAZR isn't necessarily the most successful device for Motorola, which now makes very little from each RAZR sale and has failed to develop a strong-selling replacement, including its direct sequel.
The iPhone 3G's success is assigned in part to the subsidies that dropped its price but are largely credited by NPD to the phone itself, which it says "opened consumers??™ eyes" to mobile web browsing. Other phones are often sold based on the addition of carrier-specific services and software that Apple insists on keeping away from its own devices.
The study also suggests that Verizon may have felt more of the impact of the iPhone with its second-year update. Although less than 15 percent of iPhone buyers switched from Verizon, the sharp increase in sales of Apple's device have resulted in more customers leaving Verizon than did for the original iPhone.
RIM's Curve and Pearl were both helped along by bringing smartphone features to home users and by launching with most carriers in the US. The LG Chocolate is the only carrier-exclusive phone besides the iPhone in the list and is touted as reaching its fourth-place rank through shrewd marketing by Verizon, which considers it a halo model for its V CAST Music store.