According to an International Data Corporation (IDC) press release published on Monday, the global smartphone manufacturers ended the fourth quarter of 2010 with a record number of units shipped. The IDC’s, ‘Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker’ indicated that in Quarter 4, a total of 100.9 million smartphones were shipped, which is up 87.2% from the 53.9 million units shipped in the same period the previous year. When viewing the year as a whole, IDC reports shipments of 302.6 million smartphones worldwide, which is up 74.4% from the 173.5 million units shipped in 2009.

Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobile Phone Technology and Trends team stated:

Android continues to gain by leaps and bounds, helping to drive the smartphone market. It has become the cornerstone of multiple vendors’ smartphone strategies, and has quickly become a challenger to market leader Symbian. 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.

Apple managed to gain still more territory in the global smartphone market in Quarter 4 but still remains in second place behind Nokia, which holds 28% of the market with 28.3 million units shipped. However, Apple is on the move recording a 36.1% year-on-year growth. In the third place, according to the report, is RIM, which holds 14.5% of the market with 14.6 million handsets shipped during the October through December period.

IDC is predicting further fast growth in the smartphone market during 2011, as makers come up with even more features with their new devices.