Analysts: Samsung primed for record smartphone shipments in Q4

Samsung Electronics is poised to retain its global smartphone crown in the fourth quarter on the back of record smartphone shipments, according estimates from financial analysts.

Samsung's handset division is expected to rake in both revenue and profit in the fourth quarter, according to a survey of analysts conducted by Reuters. Analysts expect Samsung to ship 35 million smartphones in the quarter, which would be a 25 percent jump from the third quarter, when it shipped 27.8 million smartphones, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. The results would give Samsung as a whole an estimated $4.1 billion operating profit in the quarter.

"Its smartphone business is now a main growth driver, and has also lifted growth of its component business," Lim Do-ri, an analyst at Solomon Investment & Securities, told Reuters. "But the biggest challenge is whether it can hold onto its smartphone market share against rivals. Any retreat in phones could also be detrimental to mobile chips and display operations."

In the third quarter Samsung surpassed Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) as the world's largest smartphone vendor by volume, according to estimates (Samsung has stopped providing specific quarterly shipment numbers in its earnings announcements). Samsung has relied on sales of smartphones running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform to power most of its smartphones sales, but the company also sells smartphones running its homegrown bada platform and Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone OS.

In the third quarter Apple shipped 17.1 million iPhones, a number that was likely dented by consumers waiting for the iPhone 4S, which Apple released Oct. 14. However, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in October that he was "confident we will set an all-time record" for iPhone shipments in the fourth quarter. The current quarterly iPhone sales record is 20.3 million units.

The rosy times are likely to continue for Samsung, which said in mid-December it eclipsed 300 million handset shipments in 2011. In late December Samsung said it expects to boost its overall 2012 handset shipments by 15 percent over its final 2011 total.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this separate Reuters article

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