The latest unaudited results from HTC for Q4 2011 indicate that total revenues reached NT$ 101 billion (US$ 3.34 billion), a 2.49% drop as compared to the same period in 2010. In stark contrast, Samsung just had a record breaking quarter with profits reaching 5.2 trillion won (US$4.5 billion), almost double the figures of Q4 2010. Samsung's results for Q4 2011 breaks its previous record profit period of 5.0 trillion won (US$ 4.3 billion) from Q2 2010 and is an increase of 22% from Q3 2011. According to an analyst Samsung shipped an estimated 35 million smartphones in the previous quarter alone, but this is likely to include Samsung's low-end bada operated devices.
Samsung's rapid growth in the past year is no surprise as it quickly surged past Apple in worldwide smartphone market share in the third quarter. However, Samsung can attribute some of its Q4 success to "one-off gains" including the sale of its hard disk drive business to Seagate and the return of some royalties from Microsoft for Samsung's Android-based devices. Nevertheless, Samsung's profits are expected to hold up with over 170 million smartphones predicted to be sold in 2012. Not all these phones are expected to run Android, however as some will feature Samsung's own bada software. Additionally, Samsung's plans to launch the popular Galaxy Note in the US in 2012, which should spur an increase in sales overall. On the flip side, increased growth for Samsung has created legal hurdles as it continues its global patent battle with Apple over the sale of the Galaxy Tabs.
In comparison, HTC just had a terrible quarter and things are looking bleak. Indeed, until this devastating quarter HTC had seen rapid growth since releasing its first Android handset in late 2008. It is likely that the immaturity of the early stages of the Android market made it easy for HTC to muscle in out of nowhere and claim market share. However the overall growth and proliferation of Android devices has allowed the likes of Samsung and Motorola to increase their own market share. Although HTC has continued to innovate in the last year, the sheer number of devices being released likely hampered its ability to grow and rally behind one flagship device. Hence it came as no surprise when HTC decided late last year to refocus its strategy and aim to release fewer phones in 2012.
With over half of the US still not using a smartphone, there is plenty of market share left to go around.[Sources: HTC, Reuters and Engadget]