Samsung Galaxy S III:Samsung predicts record profit as Galaxy dazzles

(CNN) -- Samsung says it expects to make a second quarter profit of US$5.9 billion, thanks largely to burgeoning sales of its flagship Galaxy smartphones.

The record figure -- a 79% rise from a year earlier -- follows a remarkable first quarter performance, which saw the South Korean technology giant overtake rivals Apple and Nokia as the world's biggest phone vendor with 44.5 million handsets sold.

Apple's sales of 35.1 million iPhones in the first quarter helped lead the company to double first quarter profits, while Nokia's 11.9 million sales January through March was almost half as many as the Finnish firm sold during the same period last year, eroding its smartphone market share to 8.2% from 23.5% in 2011.

In May, Samsung released its new Galaxy S III phone in Europe and has seen brisk sales, which are expected to top 10 million units in July, according to the company's telecoms chief JK Shin.

Analysts agree.

"The impact of the Galaxy S III smartphone was maximized thanks to its sole competitor Apple Inc.'s delay in releasing a new product," Shinhan Investment Corp. analyst Kim Young-chan said in a report, quoted by South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

"More than six million units of the latest Galaxy phone have been sold since its rollout in late May, with sales likely to top 25 million units in the second half," he added.

Kim predicted Samsung would sell a total of 204 million smartphones in 2012.

Apple, meanwhile, has still to set a date for its much-anticipated iPhone 5 -- seen by many as the challenger to the Galaxy S III.

The California-based tech behemoth is also locked in a lengthy legal challenge with its Korean rival in the courts, with numerous patent infringement cases pending in over 10 different countries.

Last week, a U.S. judge suspended sales of Samsung's Galaxy Nexus smartphone just days after issuing a similar ruling against its new Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer. San Jose District Judge Lucy Koh said Apple "has shown a likelihood of establishing both infringement and validity."

Samsung is appealing both injunctions.

The legal wrangling began in April 2011, when Apple launched a lawsuit accusing the South Korean company of "slavishly" copying the interface and design of the iPhone and iPad in Galaxy smartphones and tablets. Samsung countersued, saying Apple has infringed a number of its wireless patents.

Samsung's results will be announced later this month.

-- CNN's Kevin Voigt contributed to this report.

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