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The BlackBerry Curve is proving to be one of the most popular phones in the world with the handset snaring the #1 mobile phone slot in the third quarter, edging out the iPhone according to global research from the NPD Group.

NPD’s Mobile Phone Track placed the BlackBerry Curve first, followed by the iPhone 3GS, the iPhone 3G, and two LG mobile phones.

During the last quarter the average purchase price for mobile phones dropped $3 to $85 from the same period last year, NPD said.

“Carriers have been heavily promoting the latest advanced handsets, which has spurred recent growth in the smartphone market and an increase in the number of smartphone brands available to consumers,” Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis at The NPD Group, said as part of the announcement. “For example, while there was only one Android device available in the fourth quarter of last year, now there are eight available from three major carriers.”

The research Company also claims that more people than ever before are now buying their phone from a mass retailer or specialist store like Officeworks.

NPD also found that during the quarter, 8 percent of new handsets were purchased at carrier stores, another 8 percent were bought at mass merchants, and 9 percent were purchased at electronics stores.

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