The iPhone accounted for 16.1% of the market in the quarter, compared to 10.9% the same period a year ago, IDC said in releasing its quarterly report Friday. In terms of shipments, Apple shipped 8.8 million units, a 131.6% increase from the 3.8 million shipments a year ago.
RIM, meanwhile, saws its share drop to 19.4% from 20.9% a year ago. Nevertheless, the company shipped 10.6 million units, a 45.2% increase from the 7.3 million units shipped a year ago.
Overall, the growth rate of the global smartphone market more than doubled the mobile phone market as a whole. Vendors shipped 54.7 million smartphones in the quarter, up 56.7% from a year ago. In contrast, the overall mobile phone market grew 21.7%.
Smartphones accounted for 18.8% of all mobile phones shipped in the quarter, compared to 14.4% from a year ago.
The increase in smartphone shipments was impressive, given the 38% growth year over year in the fourth quarter of 2009, IDC said.
"2010 looks to be another year of large-scale consumer adoption of converged mobile devices," IDC analyst Ramon Llamas said in a statement.
Nokia continued to lead the global smartphone market in the first quarter with a 39.3% share, unchanged from a year ago. Nokia introduced several new models in the period, the C3, C6 and E5, and announced its first Symbian 3 model, the N8, set for release along with other Symbian 3 devices in the fourth quarter.
RIM kept its number two position with the success of its BlackBerry Curve 8520 and the BlackBerry Bold 9700. Later this year, RIM is expected to release version 6 of the BlackBerry operating system.
Number three Apple's success was due in part to more iPhones arriving in countries outside of the United States. A fourth generation iPhone is scheduled to ship this summer.
HTC came in fourth with 4.8% of the market, an increase of half of a percentage point. HTC's 73.3% year-over-year growth in shipments in the quarter was driven by its growing portfolio of smartphones powered by Google's Android OS. Those products include the Hero, Droid Eris and MyTouch.
HTC is expected to release several additional devices this year, including the EVO 4G, which is the first Android phone that supports WiMAX, a 4G wireless broadband technology.
Fifth-place Motorola saw its market share increase to 4.2% in the quarter from 3.4% a year ago, as shipments rose 91.7%. The company plans to launch 20 different models and ship 12 million to 14 million Android smartphones this year.