Samsung has announced that it made record profits in 2012 – thanks in part to healthy sales of devices like the Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy Note 10.1 and, of course, the best selling non-Apple smartphone the Samsung Galaxy S3.
According to the Korean technology giant they made £4.5 billion in 2012 and that’s almost double the profits of last year, the profits can be attributed to the success of the S3 which has shifted an eye-watering 20 million units worldwide.
The estimates beat analyst expectations sending Samsung shares 1.5% higher. However, ongoing legal tussles with Apple have cast a shadow over its future performance. Smartphone sales drive much of the profit at the company which also makes screens, semiconductors and televisions.
Analysts said the record profits were largely driven by gains in that sector offsetting other parts of the business which are not showing drastic change.
“Stronger than expected sales of Galaxy S3 and high-end television models appear to have propelled strong earnings growth in the third quarter,” said Lee Sun-Tae, from NH Investment & Securities.
However, Samsung’s higher-end Galaxy line of smartphones pits it directly against Apple’s iPhone. This has led to several different legal disputes between the two smartphone market leaders in various countries around the world.
Analysts said, the recent decision in a California court in Apple’s favour would be one of the factors putting pressure on Samsung going forward.
In a court ruling in August, Samsung was ordered to pay more than $1bn in damages to Apple after Apple accused Samsung of violating several of its patents.
“Fourth-quarter earnings will depend on how much Samsung will (set aside) provisions for possible fines relating to a lawsuit with Apple,” said James Song from KDB Daewoo Securities.
Credit Suisse has estimated that Samsung may have spent as much as £1.6 billion on Olympics advertising alone for its Galaxy family. And things may well get tougher when Google releases its next Nexus smartphone, which is rumoured to be in collaboration with either HTC as the HTC Google Nexus 5 or, new reports are suggesting, LG, with a Nexus version of its Optimus G.
Either way it’s looking like Samsung will be out of the Nexus picture for this round, and after the massive popularity of the Asus Nexus 7, that might have dramatic consequences on next year’s profits.
Elsewhere, Samsung’s head of communications, JK Shin has lifted the lid on the company’s Galaxy S3 Mini device which will be unveiled at a product launch tomorrow in Germany.
Shin was keen to point out, however, that the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini will not be a low-end handset, adding that the launch comes because “there’s a lot of demand for a 4in screen device in Europe”, possibly a nod to the early success of Apple’s iphone 5.
There’s no word on other specifications yet, but speculation suggests that the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini will feature the same 1.4GHz quad-core processor as its bigger brother, 1GB of RAM, an 8MP rear-facing camera, either 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of internal storage and a microSD slot. As with the majority of Samsung phones, it’s likely that its screen will use Super AMOLED display technology.
S4 Already Poised For Release
So the future is looking good for the South Korea manufacturer and according to numerous unsubstantiated reports, they’re already poised to release the phone’s successor, the S4.
Apparently the Samsung Galaxy S4 will be ready for a launch in early 2013. Exact specifications are not yet known, but the Galaxy S4 will likely sport a 5-inch display, .2 inches larger than that of the Galaxy S3 and a full inch bigger than iPhone 5’s Retina Display.
As for a processor, the 4G LTE S4 will reportedly run the same Exynos 1.6 GHz quad-core unit that pushes the Galaxy Note 2. A 13MP camera is also rumored.