"Much of the smartphone growth during the first quarter of 2009 was driven by touchscreen products, both in midtier and high-end devices," said principal analyst Roberta Cozza.
"Touch for the sake of touch’ was enough of a driver in the midtier space, but tighter integration with applications and services around music, mobile e-mail, and Internet browsing made the difference at the high end of the market."
The big names in smartphones - Nokia, RIM, Apple, HTC and Fujitsu - all recorded an increase in sales volume during the quarter.
Although Nokia remains at the top of the pile, its smartphone market share slipped from 45.1 to 41.2 percent.
RIM and Apple showed strong gains, up from 13.3 to 19.9 percent and 5.3 to 10.8 percent respectively.
Gartner only counts HTC's own-brand sales, which underestimates the company's true position.
What about the overall handset market? You'll find the numbers on page 2.
Things were less rosy for the handset industry overall. In total, 269 million handsets were sold during the first calendar quarter, down 14.5 percent on the previous quarter and down 9.4 percent on the corresponding period in 2008.
Samsung and LG both had a fairly solid quarter.
Samsung saw volume rise from 42.4 million to 51.4 million pushing its market share up 4.7 percentage points to 19.1 percent, while LG went from 23.6 million to 26.5 million for a market share gain of 1.9 percentage points to 8 percent.
The losers were Motorola (dropping more than 13 million units to 16.6 million and losing 4 percentage points of share to 6.2 percent) and Sony Ericsson (down more than 7 million units to 14.5 million and 2.1 percentage points of share to 5.4 percent).
Gartner does not expect the demand for handsets to stabilise before the second half of 2010.
"Device vendors will focus increasingly on smartphones, improved user interfaces and services to differentiate themselves and fuel consumer demand," predicted Gartner research director Carolina Milanesi.