Driven by solid smartphone sales, the global mobile communication device market posted strong figures in the first quarter of 2011, a new study found.

According to research firm Gartner, the global mobile device market grew 19 percent compared to the first quarter of last year, selling a total of 427.8 million units to end-users. Smartphones accounted for nearly a quarter of these sales, as consumers continue to swap their standard mobile devices for the high-tech handsets.

The world's leading mobile communication device manufacturer, Nokia once again posted the highest number of sales with 107.6 million devices. However, its market share did slip from 30.6 percent in the first quarter of 2010 to 25.1 percent this year.

Bolstered by its Galaxy line of smartphones and tablets, Samsung saw the strongest growth in the first quarter, capturing 16.1 percent of the market. LG and Apple represented the third and fourth spots with 5.6 percent and 3.9 percent market share, respectively.

This year is already turning out to be a strong one for smartphones and mobile phone accessories. Having already seen the release of several new devices, Research In Motion, Apple, HTC and others are all expected to introduce new handsets this year.