Worldwide smartphone sales rose 72.1 percent last year, accounting for 19 percent of total mobiles sales, according to a Gartner report published on Wednesday.

The total mobile device sales rose 31.8 percent to 1.6 billion units last year, the report said.

However, the market leader Nokia saw its share declining to 28.9 percent in 2010 compared to 36.4 percent in 2009.

Samsung, which stood second in worldwide mobile sales, increased in its market share from 17.6 percent in 2009 to 19.5 percent last year. Samsung sold 281.1 million units in 2010.

LG Electronics also saw it market share declining to 7.1 per cent from 10.1 percent.

Nokia and LG saw their market share erode in 2010 as they came under increasing pressure to refine their smartphone strategies,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner.

While Research In Motion (RIM) increased it share from 2.8 percent to 3 percent selling 47.4 million units last year, Apple sold 46.6 million units with a gain in share from 2.1 percent to 2.9 percent.

Shares of both Sony Ericsson and Motorola reduced to half last year compared with 2009.

Strong smartphone sales in the fourth quarter of 2010 pushed Apple and Research In Motion (RIM) up in our 2010 worldwide ranking of mobile device manufacturers to the No. 5 and No. 4 positions, respectively, displacing Sony Ericsson and Motorola, said Milanesi.

In the smartphone operating system (OS) market, Android saw its share increased to 22.7 percent last year, up 888.8 percent compared with 2009.

Nokia's Symbian remained at the top position despite a fall in market share to 37.6 percent in 2010 from 46.9 percent in 2009.

Gartner also said that sales of Android overtook Nokia's Symbian unit sales in the fourth quarter last year.

Android sales in the fourth quarter of 2010 continued to be driven by broad availability of many high-end products from HTC (Desire range, Incredible and EVO), Samsung (Galaxy S) and Motorola (Droid X, Droid 2), the report said.