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Global handset shipments reached 1.132 billion units worldwide in 2009 with 324 million handsets sold in the fourth quarter of 2009, 10 percent higher than a year earlier, according to new figures from Strategy Analytics.

The research firm said the numbers represented the handset market’s first quarter of positive growth since Q3 2008, signaling an end to the industry’s year-long recession.

South Korean vendors Samsung and LG again shipped record volumes, while Motorola and Sony Ericsson edged their way back toward profitability. Market leader Nokia shipped 126.9 million handsets worldwide in Q4 2009, jumping 12 percent from 113.1 million units a year ago. Full-year (2009) handset volumes of 1.13 billion units in 2009, slipped 4 percent from 1.18 billion in 2008.

Despite Nokia’s weakened position in the smartphone segment, it still managed to maintain 37.7% of the overall handset market, says ABI Research. Samsung, meanwhile, increased its market share from 15.2% to 20.5%.

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