The global smartphone market experienced its strongest ever growth since 2007 with sales of about 55.2 million units in January-March, 2010.

The volume of smartphone sales continued their climb in Q1, 2010, registering a growth of 67 per cent, a study by Canalys said.

The sector weathered the period of economic uncertainty well and growth has fully rebounded, it added.

Despite strong competition, Nokia increased its share of the global smartphone market in the first quarter of 2010, according to Canalys.

The Finnish vendor shipped 21.4 million units, around twice the volume of nearest competitor RIM.

Nokia showed strong growth across all regions, with Latin America the highest growth market, but with the lowest volume.

Under fierce competition from rivals, Nokia has broadened its touch-screen portfolio over the last six months.

“For the first time, touchscreens represented over 50 per cent of Nokia’s smartphone shipments this quarter, which were historically dominated by the keypad-based candy bar form factors,” Canalys VP and Principal Analyst Chris Jones said.