South Korean manufacturer Samsung has released an early estimate for its January-March operating quarter. The company expects its operating profit to reach 8.7 trillion won ($7.7 billion), beating the average analyst forecast of $7.38 billion. Sales increased to $46.2 billion, up from $40.2 billion in 2012. If accurate, the figure breaks Samsung's streak of five consecutive quarters of record profits
The Android giant's mobile phone business is expected to be the biggest source of profit, with low-margin handsets supplementing the soon-to-be-replaced Galaxy S III. Samsung is likely to have a first-quarter operating profit in the mobile sector of $5.6 billion with a 40 percent sales increase.
"In addition to the Galaxy S III, mini models sold well in emerging markets including China, Brazil and India," said a Seoul-based Meritz Securities analyst Lee Sei Cheol. "Samsung's continued ascent in the smartphone industry seems to be unparalleled."
The next quarter's profit is expected to climb again, with the release of the Galaxy S4 later this month
. Two other high-end mobile devices are expected this year, including the Galaxy Note 3 and an Intel Tizen-based
device before the holiday season.