Market research firm Canalys has given Google's Android OS a 35 percent share of the smartphone market for the first quarter of 2011. Nokia had a share of 24 percent, with iOS on 19 percent.

Compared to Canalys' figures for Q4 2010 Apple had increased its market share by three percentage points. This was partially due to a strong performance in the US, said Canalys, following the launch of the Verizon iPhone in January.

Android's increased share was largely down to strong performances from key brands, according to Canalys principal analyst Pete Cunningham.

"HTC, Samsung, LG, Motorola and Sony Ericsson drove Android shipments in the first quarter, with each vendor shipping well over 3 million devices. Samsung also shipped nearly 3.5 million bada operating system-based smart phones, outperforming total shipments of Windows Phone devices by more than a million units," he said.

Canalys also said that Nokia shouldn't be considered as a declining force as it remained strong in many markets. "Nokia is under considerable strain in the smartphone market as it transitions strategy, platforms and people," said Cunningham.

"Its worldwide reach, however, should never be underestimated. Canalys' country-level data shows that the vendor remains number one in 28 countries, including mainland China, where it grew 79 percent to 8.9 million units, thanks in part to Chinese New Year shipments," he continued.

Canalys also said that Samsung's multi-platform approach was paying off. "Samsung's own operating system development, combined with the branding and investment in its Wave smart phones at mid-tier prices, has led to good uptake in developed markets, such as France, the UK and Germany," Cunningham said.

"This achievement shows that there is still room for multiple operating systems, and that vendors can benefit from maintaining control of device development to hit the right markets and price points."

Overall, worldwide smart phone shipments grew 83 percent to 101 million units in Q1 2011, with the Asia Pacific (APAC) posting year-on-year growth of 98 percent to 37.3 million units, putting it ahead of Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) for the first time since Q3 2007.