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The latest IDC figures show the South Korean company moving further ahead of Apple, at the same time as Samsung reports another record quarter. 

The Samsung Way

In their own ruthless ways, Samsung and Apple continue to carve up the smartphone and tablet markets between them. Samsung with a wide range of products and prices, Apple with its handful of uber-profitable devices. But Samsung with its many fingers in many pies approach comes out behind Apple in the money scales, but ahead on market share.

The Korean company has reported a profit of $8.27 billion for final quarter of its financial year on the back of $52.45 billion in revenue. Profit is up  10% over the previous quarter with the mobile division up 4%. That compares to Apple's $13 billion in profit in its recent report

With these companies given less and less actual information away each quarter, it is hard to see what's selling better, but Samsung commented on good performances from the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy Note II models. With the Titanium Galaxy SIII model and the Galaxy S4 to come, Samsung also did brisk business in processors and semiconductors, powered in part by demand from Apple as a customer. 

Rocking the Charts

Which brings us to the latest big numbers from IDC which starts off with the whopping number of 1.6 billion mobile devices shipped by makers last year. That's around one phone shipped for every 4.5 people on the planet in 12 months. 

Over 700 million of those were smartphones and Samsung leads the way with 63 million in the quarter, ahead of Apple's 47.8 million. Between them, that was 51% of the total market with Nokia clinging on to third place despite its own reported rise in sales


Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, January 24, 2013

While the yearly growth is slowing down now, largely due to market saturation, two-year standard contracts and other issues, the players are turning to booming countries to pick up the slack. How long will it be before China gets first go on a major smartphone launch?

Expect Mobile World Congress next month to sound the start of another crazed year of models and attempts at innovation. Or, are we all happy with our recent-generation models and getting bored with all the fuss?