Smartphones power Samsung to record Q4 profit

Samsung Electronics, a maker of memory chips and
smartphones, has posted on Friday 5.2 trillion won ($4.5 billion) in quarterly
operating profit, aided by one-off gains and best-ever sales of high-end


The result would top Samsung’s previous record profit of
5.0 trillion won earned in the second quarter of 2010 and is up 22 percent from
the preceding quarter.


One-off gains expected in the fourth quarter include
around 500 billion won from the sale of its hard disk drive business to Seagate
Technology, and reduced mobile provisions involving royalty payments, according
to analysts.


Samsung entered the smartphone market in earnest in 2010,
according to Reuters.


Smartphone shipments are forecast at a record 35 million
in the fourth quarter, up one quarter from the preceding three months, when it
first surged past Apple as the world’s top smartphone vendor.


In 2012 it is expected to sell as many as 170 million
smartphones, according to BNP Paribas and Korea Investment & Securities,
the most bullish street view, from an estimated 95 million last year, powered
by a diverse product portfolio that spans high-end Galaxy models to cheap
phones using Samsung’s own “bada” software.


Its latest Galaxy Note model, which runs on fast
fourth-generation (4G) networks, is touted by some followers as a
“phablet” as its 5.3-inch display and powerful dual-core processor
makes it work as both a tablet computer and smartphone. Its successful debut in
some European and Asian markets during the year-end holiday season has raised
hopes for a solid U.S. launch in coming months.


Samsung, the world’s biggest technology firm by revenue,
estimated fourth-quarter sales at 47 trillion won.


Its foray into the booming tablet market has been also
hit by a global patent battle with Apple, which is seeking to ban sales of
Samsung’s tablets in major markets.


By Team
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