©IDG Communications, Inc. Photo contributed by Matthew Mikaelian.
SEOUL (Reuters) – Samsung Electronics, the world leader in mobiles and memory chips, likely earned a quarterly profit of $8.1 billion, as it sold close to 500 handsets every minute and as demand picked up for the flat screens it makes for mobile devices, including those for rival Apple Inc products.
That run of five straight record quarters may end in January-March on weak seasonal demand, though a strong pipeline of smartphones – the South Korean group’s biggest earner – and improving chip prices have eased concerns that earnings growth could slow this year, powering Samsung shares to record levels.
While Apple rolled out just a single new smartphone, the iPhone 5, last year globally, Samsung bombarded the market with 37 variants tweaked for regional and consumer tastes, from high-end smartphones to cheaper low-end models. By comparison, Taiwan’s HTC Corp released 18 models, Nokia 9 and LG Electronics 24.