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Blackberry-maker Research in Motion broke into the top five cell phone makers in January-March for the first time ever, helped by booming smart phone demand. The global handset market has been dominated by five major players - Nokia, Samsung, LG Electronics, Motorola and Sony Ericsson - for the last five years.

Over the last two years Sony Ericsson and Motorola have struggled with falling sales and market share, and despite fast market growth, both firms reported sharp drops in sales volumes.

IDC estimated RIM shipped 10.6 million phones in January-March, just ahead of Sony Ericsson's 10.5 million.

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The research firm said all vendors in total made 295 million phones in the quarter, up 21.7 per cent from a year ago, and stuck to its 11 per cent market growth forecast for 2010.

"The entrance of RIM into the top 5 underscores the sustained smart phone growth trend that is driving the global mobile phone market recovery," IDC analyst Kevin Restivo said in a statement.

Motorola, who was the second largest phone maker just six years ago, sold 8.5 million phones in the quarter, falling also behind Apple , who sold 8.75 million iPhones.

Nokia shipped 107.8 million phones in the quarter, with Korean vendors Samsung and LG selling 64.3 million and 27.1 million phones, respectively.

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