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NPD: Apple's iPhone 4S, 4 & 3GS were top 3 US smartphones over holidays

Apple's iPhone lineup dominated smartphone sales during the holiday 2011 quarter, with the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS taking the top three spots, respectively, in total U.S. sales.

Apple's control over the top three spots for smartphone sales in the U.S. over the holiday shopping season was revealed on Monday by the NPD Group. It found that although the iPhone 4 came in second place, Apple's 2010 smartphone was outsold by 75 percent by the iPhone 4S, which launched in October.

The disparity was even greater between the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 3GS, which debuted in 2009 and is now available for free at AT&T with a two-year service contract. NPD's data found that the iPhone 4S outsold the iPhone 3GS by five to one.

"Attracted by a faster processor, improved camera and the Siri speech-driven agent, most iPhone buyers paid a premium for the iPhone 4S, making it the top-selling handset in Q4," said Ross Rubin, executive director of Connected Intelligence for The NPD Group.

Following the iPhone 3GS, Samsung's Galaxy S II came in fourth place among smartphones sold in the U.S. over the holidays. Samsung also took the fifth-place spot with the Galaxy S 4G.

Android and the iPhone combined to account for more than 90 percent of smartphone sales in America over the holidays. Android, available on a wider range of models from multiple manufacturers and carriers than Apple's iPhone, represented 48 percent of smartphones sold during the quarter.

The NPD Group found that Android devices performed better among first-time smartphone buyers, as 57 percent of those buying their first smartphone chose a device running Google's platform. Apple's iPhone accounted for 34 percent of first-time smartphone buyers.

"Android has been criticized for offering a more complex user experience than its competitors, but the company's wide carrier support and large app selection is appealing to new smartphone customers," Rubin said. "Android's support of LTE at Verizon has also made it the exclusive choice for customers who want to take advantage of that carrier's fastest network."

NPD's data is based on its Mobile Phone Track and Smartphone Track, which report on activities of U.S. consumers 18 or older. The NPD does not track corporate or enterprise mobile phone purchases.