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Friday, April 01, 2011, 03:00 pm PT (06:00 pm ET)

Verizon iPhone most popular US mobile phone in February

Apple's CDMA iPhone sold by Verizon Wireless in the US was the nation's top mobile phone sold during the month of February, according to market research firm comScore.

The firm reported that of the top five phone makers, Apple grew its share of mobile subscribers the most in the last quarter, edging up 0.9 percentage points to hit a 7.5 percent share of the American mobile phone market (not just smartphones).

While four makers are ahead of Apple in the US mobile market, only first place Samsung was able to similarly increase its share of the market, by 0.3 percentage points, to 24.8 percent.

LG remained flat at 20.9 percent, while Motorola shrunk by 0.9 percentage points to a 16.1 percent share, and RIM fell by 0.2 points to achieve an 8.6 percent share of all mobiles sold during the three month period ending in February.

In terms of smartphone platforms, Android was up 7 percentage points to take 33 percent of the smartphone market, while Apple's iOS was the only other smartphone platform to register growth, up 0.2 points to a 25.2 percent share of smartphones.

RIM remained ahead of Apple, with 28.9 percent share, but was down 4.6 points compared to three months ago. Microsoft slipped another 1.3 points despite the release of Windows Phone 7, setting down to a 7.7 share, while HP's Palm webOS platform shrank by 1.1 points to take 2.8 percent share of the smartphone market.

The popularity of Apple's Verizon iPhone, which comScore called "the most acquired handset in the month of February," refutes anecdotal figures advertised by BTIG Research analyst Walter Piecyk, who recently claimed that Verizon was selling more HTC Thunderbolt phones than Apple iPhones, based on conversations with retail staff.

Verizon itself claimed the iPhone was its biggest phone launch ever, but has made no similar claim about the Android-based HTC Thunderbolt, which boasts 4G data service via Verizon's new LTE network.