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Samsung profits jump as mobile phone sales outstrip Apple and Nokia

Samsung has overtaken Finnish rival Nokia to become the world’s biggest mobile phone-maker, as a surge in Galaxy smartphone sales pushed the firm’s earnings up to a record high in the first three months of this year.

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The new Android, with Ice Cream Sandwich software, was introduced in October as the iPhone 4S's latest competition. (LAURENT FIEVET/AFP/Getty Images)

Samsung, the South Korean electronics giant, has overtaken Finnish rival Nokia to become the world’s largest maker of mobile phones, as a surge in Galaxy smartphone sales pushed the firm’s earnings up to a record high in the first quarter of this year.

Samsung took more than a quarter of the global mobile phone market, shipping 93 million phones in the first three months of 2012, compared to almost 83 million by Nokia, which has held the top spot since 1998, according to a report published Friday by research firm Strategy Analytics, as cited by the BBC.

The Seoul-based company – which is also the world’s biggest TV and flat screen manufacturer – reported its highest quarterly profits since 2008, with net profit almost doubling to 5.05 trillion won ($4.5 billion) for the three months to March 31.

Samsung also became the world’s top smartphone maker, Strategy Analytics said, selling 44.5 million handsets like the Galaxy Note and the Galaxy S2 in the January-March period compared to rival Apple’s 35.1 million.

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Ironically, the company’s overall first-quarter results were due in part to growing sales of Apple’s iPhone handset and iPad tablet computer, according to the Associated Press.

Apple is Samsung’s most important customer in its semiconductor and display screen businesses, and the California-based firm is credited for helping turn around Samsung’s display-panel into profit.

The strong demand for Samsung smartphones helped to mask lower profit from the company’s flagship memory chip business, which has been hurt by declining demand for personal computers globally, The Daily Telegraph reports.

The company is to launch the latest version of its Galaxy smartphone range in one week, while Apple is expected to unveil a new model of its iPhone handset later in 2012, according to ITN News

More from GlobalPost: Samsung surges past Apple in smartphone sales

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business/120427/samsung-profits-jump-mobile-phone-sales-outstrip-apple-and-nokia