Worldwide mobile phone sales totalled 314.7m units in the first quarter of 2010, a 17% per cent increase from the same period in 2009, according to Gartner.
Smarpthone sales hit 54.3m units, an increase of 48.7% from the first quarter of 2009 and the biggest year-on-year increase since 2006.
Smartphones accounted for 17.3% of all mobile handset sales in the first quarter of 2010, up from 13.6% in the same period in 2009.
Among the most successful suppliers were those that controlled an integrated set of operating system, hardware and services, said Carolina Milanesi, research vice-president at Gartner.
BlackBerry maker RIM, a pure smartphone player, made its debut in the top five mobile devices manufacturers, and Apple increased its market share by 1.2 percentage points, she said.
The momentum of Google's Android operating system also continued, particularly in North America, where sales of Android-based phones increased 707% year-on-year.
The first quarter also saw some movement outside the top five mobile handset supplier rankings with Hong Kong-based manufacturer G-Five making its debut in the top 10 by grabbing 1.4% of market share in the first quarter of 2010.
The rise of white-box manufacturers from Asia has increased its market share by 2.7 percentage points to 19.2%
"This is having a profound effect on the top five mobile handset manufacturers' combined share, which dropped from 73.3% in the first quarter of 2009 to 70.7% in the first quarter of 2010," said Milanesi.