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U.S. smartphone sales strong as cell phones sales slip

Q2 sales of smartphones are still strong though overall sales of mobile phones are declining in the U.S.

Q2 sales of smartphones are still strong though overall sales of mobile phones are declining in the U.S. Though customers are increasingly willing to pay more per new device, standard cell phone sales are also down.

There were 28 million mobile phones sold to consumers in the U.S. during the second quarter of this year, a 13% decline since the same period a year ago, according to market-research firm NPD Group.

But this decline doesn't include smartphones. There were 5.3 million of these devices sold in the U.S. last quarter -- nearly 20% of the total -- up from just 2.9 million in the same period of 2007.

Smartphones typically cost more than standard phones, so it's no surprise that the price people are paying for a phone is rising. The average selling price during Q2 was $84, an increase of 14% year-over-year.

More feature rich
Consumers may be paying more, but they are also getting more.

Handsets with a QWERTY keyboard saw a sharp year-over-year rise. Last quarter 28% of mobile phones included this feature, versus just 12 percent the year prior.

In addition, 81% of phones purchased were Bluetooth enabled, up from 69% in the previous year, and 65% of handsets could play music, versus 45% in the same quarter of 2007.

Results by company
Motorola had a very bad quarter, and just barely managed to maintain its lead in the U.S. market. It had 32% of phone sales in Q2 of last year, while during the same period this year its share had dropped to just 21%.

All the other major device makers picked up market share that was lost by Motorola.

Second place was a tie between Samsung and LG with 20% of the U.S. consumer phone market each. Fourth place was held by Nokia with a 9% share, while RIM rounded out the top five with 7% of the market.

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