Apple’s iPhone has overtaken Motorola’s Razr to become the best-selling consumer cellphone in the US in the third quarter of 2008.

Results from research firm NPD show the Razr, which has been the top-selling phone for the last 3 years, now sits second, with RIM’s BlackBerry Curve in third place, followed by two LG phones, which rounded out the top five.

NPD’s report doesn’t include sales figures, but Apple’s exclusive US carrier partner AT&T said it activated 2.4 million iPhones in Q3. Motorola said it shipped more than 3 million Razrs worldwide in Q3, but didn’t specify its US sales.

The iPhone’s success is all the more impressive considering it costs upwards of USD $199, while the RAZR has been virtually free with a signed contract for the past few years.

It’s US achievements follow recent reports that Apple has overtaken RIM as the number two smartphone vendor globally.

The success of smartphones – four of the top five are high-end handsets – also underlines the trend in the US market towards more powerful, full-featured devices.

Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis for NPD, said: "The displacement of the RAZR by the iPhone 3G represents a watershed shift in handset design from fashion to fashionable functionality."

Overall domestic handset purchases by adult consumers declined 15 per cent year-over-year in Q3 to 32 million units.

Consumer handset sales revenue fell 10 per cent to USD $2.9 billion, even as the average selling price rose 6 per cent to USD $88.

NPD consumer cellphone ranking for 3rd Quarter 2008:

  1. Apple iPhone 3G
  2. Motorola RAZR V3 (all models)
  3. RIM Blackberry Curve (all models)
  4. LG Rumor
  5. LG enV2

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