Samsung shipped an estimated 35 million smartphones in the fourth quarter — up from 27.9 million in the third quarter when it passed Apple to become the top smartphone vendor in the world — pushing the South Korea-based company toward record profits. The firm reported its preliminary results for the fourth calendar quarter on Friday, revealing an operating profit of 5.2 trillion won, up 73% from the same quarter in 2010. Wall Street was expecting 4.7 trillion won for the quarter, and Samsung’s previous record had been 5.0 trillion won in the second quarter of 2010. Samsung stated last month that it also saw record phone sales during the quarter, topping 300 million units in early December, and the company aims to sell more than 374 million phones in 2012.