It seems the smartphone market isn't bulletproof after all. After nearly two years of growth, global smartphone shipments dipped slightly in the first quarter of 2011, according to a new report by IHS iSuppli.

This is not to say that the smartphone market posted dismal numbers during the quarter. On the contrary, smartphone manufacturers still managed to ship an impressive 97.2 million units. But after coming off a strong holiday season, which saw 98.7 million smartphones ship, the numbers understandably dipped a bit.

Despite the overall drop, a few smartphone manufacturers actually increased their shipment figures during the quarter. This trend was led by Apple, which saw shipments increase from 16.2 million units in the fourth quarter to 18.6 million. Research In Motion, HTC, LG, Sony Ericsson and Sharp all saw modest gains as well.

"Apple’s smartphone market share in the first quarter was boosted by the introduction of its first iPhone model with code division multiple access as well as by the addition of Verizon Wireless as a carrier in the United States," said IHS senior analyst Tina Teng.

Verizon Wireless began selling Apple's popular iPhone this year in February, which effectively ended AT&T's exclusive three-year hold on the smartphone.