Last week NPD Group released their ranking of the top five selling smartphones in Q1 2009.  Based on all their marketing and publicity, most people I talk to thinks it’s the Apple iPhone, but it’s not – RIM’s BlackBerry Curve is #1.  The report states that RIM’s consumer smartphone market share increased 15% to approximately 50% of the smartphone market in Q1.  What happened to Apple – well, their market share declined by 10% (and so did Palm’s share).

This is big news!  Personally, I am glad to see RIM winning out in the marketplace.  I’ve used the BlackBerry for several years and strongly believe it’s the best device for a balance of productivity and fun.  I have an Apple iPhone that I use for customer demos but thinks it’s more gimmicky and clunky for what I want to do.  The best part of the iPhone is the screen size and app store but these advantages won’t be long-lived since competitive handsets are coming out and new app stores are opening up for the other operating systems.

It will be interesting to see what happens as time goes on but I believe that Apple’s exclusivity contract with AT&T will come back to hurt them over the next few years.  RIM’s marketshare growth in Q1 was driven primarily by Verizon Wireless’ buy-one-get-one BlackBerry promotion that targeted the US’ largest wireless consumer base.  With this campaign, RIM captured three out of the top five positions.  Now that a large portion of the smartphone consumers are getting familiar with the BlackBerry, it will be tough for Apple to force them to change.

From a mobile marketing perspective, this report shows the importance of creating a mobile marketing strategy that goes beyond the coolness factor of wireless and focuses on driving results.  I have met with lots of businesses that immediately want to focus on the iPhone but I always tell them it’s a mistake since they should first understand their consumer base and ignore the Apple hype-machine.  I’m not saying that the iPhone shouldn’t be an important part of your strategy, but based on the current marketplace, BlackBerry should be your top priority if you want results.