Research in Motion knocked out of the world’s top five phone sellers; turbulent mobile market shakes things up

Research in Motion, the Waterloo titan who pioneered mobile email, is no longer one of the world’s top five phone sellers, according to technology research company IDC.

Apple, which had clambered over RIM last year to find fourth spot, has also tumbled back a ranking, narrowly retaining a top-five position.

Motorola and Sony Ericsson were also in the top five in 2010 but have since been knocked out in a turbulent year for the mobile market.

ZTE, a chinese manufacturer of crappy phones, managed to find its way to fourth spot, while Nokia, Samsung, and LG Electronics retained their dominance in first, second, and third place respectively.

Mobile makers shipped roughly 1.4 billion units globally in 2010, up about 18 percent from just under 1.2 billion units in 2009—a trend of growth expected to continue until at least 2014.