Samsung posts monster profits -

Building on the immense success of Apple's major rival, the Galaxy range, Samsung has become the biggest manufacturer of smartphones - and has reported record profits, a 76 percent increase, to boot.

For the final quarter of 2012, Samsung managed net profit of 7.04 trillion South Korean won, or £4.1 billion. Operating profit was up 5.44 trillion won in Q4, an enormous boost from 2.56 trillion for the same time last year.

Unlike Apple, Samsung has been mixing innovative form factors with a spray-and-pray mentality, flooding the market with high- and low- range devices - with mixed reviews. However, where it has performed, it has performed exceptionally well, even trouncing Apple. Just a couple of years ago industry watchers were waiting for the day there would be a true rival to the iPhone - and we have come a long way since the HTC Hero, once touted as a competitor, largely thanks to Samsung's efforts.

According to a Strategy Analytics report, Apple's shipments did grow an impressive 46 percent in 2012 - reaching 135.8 million shipped, total - the company's arrogance has left it with few friends, and analysts have started to warn Apple shares could plummet.

iPhone 5 sales did not do as well as expected, and the fiasco of its ludicrous alternative to Google Maps left the company struggling to explain away the phone's faults, like the late Steve Jobs could do so adeptly. Samsung's total shipments hit just under 400 million units.

Apple really shot itself in the foot. Banking on its prestige status - when the world is in the most widespread economic crisis it has ever seen - and leaving rabid fans and the technologically ignorant to make up its (granted, BIG) margins, savvy shoppers are seeking more exciting avenues for their cash. 

The twin monster of monopolists Google and Samsung has delivered winning hardware so far. Another question entirely is, when Google squeezes the vast majority of the mobile market from Apple, will the control freak company tighten the grip on its own ecosystem? Apple, in the meantime, will need to come up with some special features indeed to win back the world.