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By 7 February 2012 | Categories: news

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The iPhone 4S hasn’t only helped put Apple back on top as the leading smartphone maker, but also assisted the company in pushing its way passed Samsung and LG in the US as the best selling handset brand.

According to the latest research from market research firm The NPD Group, the Cupertino-based iPad and iPod maker leaped past Samsung and LG to become the number one selling US handset brand during Q4 2011. The highly anticipated launch of the new iPhone along with the availability of three models (the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S) enabled Cupertino to capture 43% of the smartphone market in the States during Q4.

“Attracted by a faster processor, improved camera and the Siri speech-driven agent, most iPhone buyers paid a premium for the iPhone 4S, making it the top-selling handset in Q4," said Ross Rubin, executive director of Connected Intelligence for The NPD Group. “The iPhone 4S outsold the iPhone 4 by 75 percent, and outsold the iPhone 3GS, available for free on AT&T, five to one.”

iPhone & Android dominate US smartphone landscape

Together, Android handsets and iPhones accounted for over 90% of all smartphone sales, with Android holding on to 48% of the smartphone market during the quarter. When looking at first-time smartphone buyers in the US, Android devices were preferred over iPhones. The latest data from The NPD Group’s monthly Smartphone Track service showed that over half (57%) of new smartphone buyers, purchased an Android-powered mobile device, with just 34% opting for an iPhone.

“Android has been criticised for offering a more complex user experience than its competitors, but the company’s wide carrier support and large app selection is appealing to new smartphone customers,” Rubin explained. “Android’s support of LTE at Verizon has also made it the exclusive choice for customers who want to take advantage of that carrier’s fastest network.”

Smartphones’ rise in popularity in the States continues

The popularity of smartphones for US mobile phone buyers is still on the rise, climbing to 68% of the total mobile phone market, which is an increase of 18 percentage points compared to the same period for 2010.

According to The NPD Group the Top 5 best-selling mobile phone handsets during Q4 2011 in the US were:

Apple iPhone 4S
Apple iPhone 4
Apple iPhone 3GS
Samsung Galaxy S II
Samsung Galaxy S 4G
 
In related news Canalys recently announced its analysis of the mobile market for Q4 2011, stating that the total annual global shipments of smartphones exceeded that of client PCs (including tablets) for the first time.

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