Android supporter Samsung is flying high, announcing on Sunday that for the first time in the company's history it has sold more than 300 million handsets in a year. It hit the figure in November, leaving still more room for celebrating, once the U.S. holiday shopping season comes to a close.
"We are incredibly proud of this record-breaking sales milestone and have exceeded the annual target announced early this year ... " Shin Jong-kyun, president and head of Samsung's mobile communications business, said in a statement.
Credit for the milestone goes to Samsung's Galaxy S line of Android-running smartphones.
Compiling third-quarter device sales in November, Gartner announced that Samsung — which had tripled smartphone sales year-over-year for a total of 24 million units — had become the number one smartphone manufacturer for the first time, beating Nokia in Western Europe and Asia. Samsung's handsets sales during the quarter neared 79 million units.
"Gartner attributes this to the strong performance of Samsung's Galaxy smartphones, which now cover a broad range of prices, and a weaker competitive market," analysts wrote in a statement, the latter comment referring to Apple's still then-unreleased iPhone 4S.
The success of Samsung's Galaxy line contributed to 60% of the company's total profits during the third quarter, help it to balance out a steep decline in memory chips. Robert Yi, head of Samsung's investor relations, told analysts at the time that he was "cautiously optimistic" about the fourth quarter, which he expected to produce even better earnings than the third.
Apple may not catch up to Samsung, but it, too, is enjoying banner sales. AT&T announced earlier this month that it was on track to break its single-quarter record for smartphone sales, thanks in part to the iPhone 4S (CP: AT&T set to smash its own smartphone record) and within three days of the iPhone 4S' launch, Apple announced it had sold more than 4 million of the iconic devices.
Barron's has cited Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair as saying that, exiting the year, "Apple remains the best-positioned company in the tech sector," and forecasting sales of 100 million iPhones in 2012, leaving Samsung with for now plenty to feel good about.