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Apple and Samsung to pull in 90% of smartphone profits in 2012, UBS says

Industry watchers agree that smartphone sales will continue to balloon in 2012, but much of the projected growth will seemingly be enjoyed by just two companies. In a report to clients earlier this week, UBS analyst Maynard Um lowered his full-year unit sales projections for cell phones to 1.69 billion from his earlier estimate of 1.7 billion units. At the same time, however, he raised his industry revenue estimates to $242.8 billion from $238.8 billion thanks in large part to a huge year projected for both Apple and Samsung. Read on for more.

Um believes Apple and Samsung will combine to account for more than half of smartphone industry revenues in 2012. Each firm recently reported a moster holiday quarter — Samsung managed a company record in the fourth calendar quarter of 2011 while Apple posted the most profitable quarter in history among technology companies — and momentum is not expected to slow.

More telling than Um’s revenue predictions, however, are his profit estimates. The analyst believes Samsung and Apple will combine to record 90% of the smartphone industry’s pre-tax profits in 2012.

“Smartphones continue to grow strongly, now accounting for over 30% of total volumes and over 75% of total industry revenues,” the analyst wrote. “However, the performance disparity between the stronger players – Apple and Samsung – vs. the others remains stark and these two now account for over 55% of industry revenues and over 90% of total EBIT.”

Samsung has a number of exciting launches planned for the first half including a new Galaxy tablet with a high-resolution display and the quad-core Galaxy S III, Samsung’s sequel to the smartphone that drove much of its mobile profit in 2011. Apple is then expected to launch its next-generation iPhone over the summer or this coming fall.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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