Samsung may be king of the Android smartphone world, but it’s playing hard to get. The company declined to release smartphone sales figures late Thursday in reporting record earnings, but it is clearly faring better than some Android competitors against Apple’s iPhone juggernaut.
Record profits were the big story for Samsung during the fourth quarter, in which it recorded $4.7 billion in profit according to Reuters (NYSE: TRI). Revenue was up 13 percent to 47.3 trillion won ($42 billion) and profit rose 16 percent compared to last year. Samsung is of course a huge conglomerate, with businesses ranging from mobile phones and televisions to semiconductors and refrigerators.
Samsung’s mobile unit reported a 54 percent increase in revenue and a 74 percent increase in profits, hours after fellow Android rival Motorola (NYSE: MMI) reported a loss for its fourth quarter. Samsung has had the upper hand in the Android world for several months despite Google’s pending purchase of Motorola, with devices like the Samsung Galaxy S II and Galaxy Nexus leading the way. But it provided no data on tablet sales, several months after the launch of the Galaxy Tab, something even Motorola was able to disclose.
The company would only say that smartphone shipments increased 30 percent compared to the past quarter, which analysts interviewed by Reuters interpreted as around 36 million units, just shy of the 37 million iPhones that Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) sold during its first fiscal quarter. It’s quite disappointing that Samsung would take a cue from Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) and Nokia (NYSE: NOK) in declining to report actual shipment totals, but it’s understandable why the company may not welcome direct comparisons with competitors.