Samsung: Our first quarter will rock

The consumer electronics heavyweight says it expects to report an operating profit of about $5.1 billion. Give credit in the Galaxy Note and other smartphones.

Samsung's Galaxy Note helped boost earnings during the first quarter.

As HTC continues to stumble in the face of increased competition in the mobile market, Samsung seems to be doing just fine.

Samsung disclosed early estimates for first-quarter sales today, approximating that it generated 45 trillion won (about $40 billion) during the period. In addition, the South Korea-based company said that its operating profit hit about 5.8 trillion won ($5.1 billion). Samsung didn't disclose its net profit.

The strong showing in the quarter just ended would dwarf the first quarter of 2011, when sales hit 37 trillion won and operating profit could only muster 2.95 trillion won. And although sales were slightly higher in the fourth quarter, reaching 47.3 trillion won, Samsung's operating profit hit 5.3 trillion won during that period.

The mobile firm's success during the period was due mainly to mobile devices, according to James Song, a Seoul-based analyst who commented on the earnings with Bloomberg. He told the publication that "sales of new models of smartphones, such as the Note, were better than expected."

Samsung has become a mobile juggernaut. In the fourth quarter, for example, Juniper Research revealed that 21.7 percent of all smartphones shipped during the period came from Samsung. It was only beaten by Apple, which scored 25 percent market share. Given the sheer number of devices Samsung sells, and considering how popular many of those products are, it's widely believed that the company will eventually pull ahead of Apple and possibly not look back.

"The scale of Samsung's product range is saturating the market," Juniper analyst Daniel Ashdown said last month in a statement. "Apple has had to counter Samsung's products like the Galaxy Ace in order to maintain the visibility of its brand."

Samsung plans to release its full, official first-quarter earnings later this month. When it does so, we'll get a fuller look into just how successful last quarter was for the consumer electronics giant.