Of the nearly 419 million mobile devices sold during that period, more than 216 million, or 51.6 percent, were smartphones, International Data Corp.'s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report said.
"Phone users want computers in their pockets. The days where phones are used primarily to make phone calls and send text messages are quickly fading away," Kevin Restivo, senior IDS research analyst, told the Los Angeles Times.
"As a result, the balance of smartphone power has shifted to phone makers that are most dependent on smartphones."
The leader in all cellphones sales was South Korea's Samsung, the report said, with the company selling nearly 71 million smartphones and 115 million feature phones total during the first quarter.
"By the end of 1Q13, Samsung shipped more units than the next four vendors combined," IDC's report said.
Apple sold more than 37 million smartphones in the first quarter, but its year-to-year growth was just 6.6 percent, the first time since 2009 the Cupertino, Calif., tech giant didn't have a double-digit year-over-year growth, IDC said.