More smartphones were shipped in the last quarter of 2010 than PCs for the first time, according to IDC.
Manufacturers shipped 100.9 million smartphones globally in the fourth quarter, compared to 92 million PCs. IDC didn't share data on how much those markets were worth, however.
The market will continue to expand, IDC predicted, as manufacturers extend smartphone features to less expensive handsets.
"IDC expects vendors to provide more mid-range and low-end smartphones at lower prices to reach the mass market," said Ramon Llamas, IDC senior research analyst.
Smartphone rankings for 2010
Nokia - 33.1 percent
RIM - 16.1percent
Apple - 15.7 percent
Samsung - 7.6 percentHTC - 7.1 percent
Others - 20.3 percent
"In the same manner, even high-end devices will become available at lower prices. This will result in greater competition and more selection for users."
Consumers will be encouraged to upgrade their phones with the arrival of new technologies, including dual-core processors and near-field communications chips, the company predicted.
IDC said Google's Android was also helping push the market to new heights. "Android continues to gain by leaps and bounds, helping to drive the smartphone market," said Llamas.
Last month, Android overtook Symbian as the most popular mobile platform. "Although Symbian has the backing of market leader Nokia, Android has multiple vendors, including HTC, LG Electronics, Motorola, Samsung and a growing list of companies deploying Android on their devices."
For the whole year, Nokia's share of the handset market continued to slide, but the troubled manufacturer still held onto the top spot, followed by Research in Motion and Apple. Samsung and HTC rounded out the top five, with the former posting the largest year-on-year growth.
The Galaxy S series helped Samsung double its market share to 7.6 percent, shipping 23 million phones compared to only 5.5 million in 2009.