updated 08:40 pm EST, Thu January 26, 2012
Samsung full results lean heavily on mobile
Samsung has detailed its full results following a brief preview earlier in the month. The Korean electronics giant mustered the equivalent of $42 billion in revenue, but owed much of this and its profit to a 30 percent increase in its cellphone business. Almost half of its working profit, $2.3 billion out of $4.7 billion, came from its mobile group; profit as a whole was up 17 percent.
Most of the smartphone sales came on the back of not just the Galaxy S II, its core device, but also the Galaxy Nexus. Reference Android phones have typically sold better than some devices, but they have rarely been credited as sales leaders. Samsung was focusing more on high-end hardware and hinted there might be more than one Galaxy Note variant.
Its chip-making group also pulled in roughly $2 billion of profit as it reaped the rewards of mobile efforts. Samsung is often considered the largest semiconductor producer in the world and supplies processors, flash storage, and RAM to both itself as well as Apple and other large clients. RAM would dip slightly, but flash memory was likely to grow at more than 10 percent in the future.
Although not surprising, Samsung didn't touch on its being outrun by Apple on smartphones. The Korean firm had previously said it shipped 35 million smartphones, just short of Apple's 37, despite having many more models and theoretically reaching more of the market.
The state of the computing and tablet markets was partly mirrored in Samsung's display sales. It saw healthy demand for seven-inch tablet screens, but nine-inch and notebook screens also fared poorly. No concrete details were given of its tablet shipments, which include the Galaxy Tab 8.9.
The company added that its TV sales improved rapidly across the board, including near-doubled sales of its highest-end, 3D-capable TVs. TV sales would keep growing in 2012, albeit at a modest rate. Samsung wasn't worried about rumors of an Apple TV set; the company claimed to have a first-mover advantage after launching in 2008 and touted the image and voice recognition of its 2012 TVs as heading off any possible Apple incursion.
In its outlook, it expected to do better than most of the market and dropped hints of tablet plans either for itself, for Apple, or both: it expected tablet panel demand to go up substantially in March. Rumors have Apple shipping its third-generation iPad in or near March with Samsung as one of its display suppliers, and Samsung may use its Mobile World Congress presence to unveil a new Galaxy Tab. The new Exynos 5250 was still due to enter production in spring for tablets, however, and would rule out any flagship device shipping before then.