Samsung has plans to boost mobile handset shipments by 18 percent in 2011, toward a goal of 330 million units, according to a Dec. 7 report from Reuters. The report states that an unnamed senior executive at Samsung told Electronic Times Internet of the company's plans. A Samsung official told Reuters that shipments "would exceed 300 million units," though wouldn't offer more details.
Currently the second-largest handset maker worldwide, Samsung shipped 71.4 million units during the third quarter-an increase of 19 percent year on year, and up from 60.2 million units a year earlier. Pushing past the 70 million-devices mark was a first for the company, and also notable during the quarter was its ability to more than double the number of smartphones it shipped in the previous quarter, thanks to strong sales following the release of its Android-running Galaxy S smartphone line and the Bada-based Wave smartphone.
Also helping Samsung to earn some extra brand cred has been the release of its tablet, the Galaxy Tab, which, all told, will be available from 140 carriers globally, including all four of the major U.S. carriers-Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. By Dec. 3, Samsung confirmed to eWEEK that it had already shipped more than 1 million of the Android-running tablets.
Looking forward to the fourth quarter, Samsung is aiming "to increase its market share and maintain double-digit operating profit by meeting seasonal demand with an enhanced product mix of mass market smartphones, full-touch phones and the Galaxy Tab," the company said in its third-quarter earnings statement.
An Apple iPhone competitor, the Galaxy S features a 4-inch display with Super AMOLED touch-technology, a six-axis motion sensor that relies on an accelerometer and geo-magnetic sensors. Users can pinch, tap, zoom and swipe vertically and horizontally. It runs a 1GHz Hummingbird processor, and its Social Hub interface merges messaging, calendar data and social networking updates into a single stream of user-friendly information.
Samsung additionally makes the Epic 4G, the WiMax-friendly phone that Sprint credited with helping it to post strong wireless subscriber additions during its third quarter, as well as one of its lowest churn rates to date.
In November, Samsung also began shipping the Wave II in France, with plans to later offer it in Southeast Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, India and China. It pairs Bada, Samsung's proprietary OS, with a 3.7-inch TFT-LCD display, HD video recording capabilities and QuickType, a software said to enable users to type more quickly and naturally.
Ranking ahead of Samsung during the third quarter, phone market leader Nokia posted less than 2 percent year-on-year growth, with shipments of 110.4 million units. Behind Samsung in third place, LG Electronics struggled, shipping 28.4 million units, down from 31.6 million a year earlier. In January, LG had set a goal of shipping 140 million units in 2010 and, by 2012, of overtaking either Nokia or Samsung to gain a top-two position.
During the third quarter, Samsung Vice President Robert Yi said in the earnings statement, the company faced a "challenging business environment," due to lowered demands for PCs and televisions, as well as the global economic slowdown.
"Despite this," said Yi, "we achieved strong revenue growth and profitability, which was built upon our cost competitiveness in memory semiconductors and increased sales of cutting-edge products such as our latest smartphones."