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Samsung Forecasts Record Mobile Earnings on Galaxy S III

Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s largest handset maker, said the Galaxy S III will help mobile earnings surpass the first-quarter record, after users responded more positively to the latest smartphone model.

“We’re getting far better feedback on the model overseas than what we experienced with the Galaxy S II,” J.K. Shin, head of the Suwon, South Korea-based company’s mobile-phone business, said at a briefing in Seoul today. He didn’t elaborate or provide a specific second-quarter forecast for the mobile unit, which posted record first-quarter profit of 4.3 trillion won ($3.7 billion).

The Galaxy S III, a rival to Apple Inc.’s iPhone, will probably sell faster than its predecessors and pass 10 million units by July, according to Shin. The model goes on sale today in South Korea after being introduced in the U.S. June 21, and is the latest in the Galaxy series that helped Samsung regain leadership in the $219 billion smartphone market from Apple in the first quarter.

Samsung dropped 4.2 percent to 1,132,000 won at the close of Seoul trading, while Korea’s benchmark Kospi index fell 1.2 percent. Taurus Investment & Securities Co. cut its forecast for the company’s second-quarter operating profit, citing weaker-than-expected demand for products including televisions.

The electronics maker sold more than 50 million units of the previous two Galaxy S models globally in the past two years.

The company sold 93.5 million handsets in the first quarter, 36 percent more than a year earlier, Strategy Analytics said April 27. Nokia shipped 82.7 million, down 24 percent, and Apple sold 35.1 million units, an 89 percent gain from 2011.

Samsung sold 44.5 million smartphones in the three months ended in March, according to the researcher’s data.

Separately, the company is investigating a complaint from a Galaxy S III owner that the phone overheated and burned its lower end, Shin said. An initial probe indicated that the damage wasn’t caused by a battery explosion, he said.

The scorched handset was mounted in a moving car when a white flame, sparks and a bang came out of it, the phone’s owner in Ireland said in a June 20 posting on an online message board.

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