Winners and losers as the smartphone wars rage on

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Winners and losers as the smartphone wars rage on

Winners and losers as the smartphone wars rage on
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Samsung continues to pull ahead in the highly competitive smartphone market.

The South Korean tech giant is on track to post its second consecutive year of record earnings.

A rebound in its semiconductor business has helped to shield it from slower smartphone sales.

Samsung estimated third-quarter operating profit rose 25 percent from a year earlier, but the mobile devices side of the business is under pressure; sales of its smartphones are stalling with the market becoming saturated.

Samsung is now hoping new products such as the Galaxy Gear smartwatch and a curved smartphone, which it plans to introduce this month, will help sustain growth momentum.

Its top rival Apple is due to release its earnings results for last year in two weeks.

At that time we might get some idea of the effect of the latest iPhone models.

Reportedly sales of iPhone 5S hit nine million on the opening weekend, better than the five million for the previous iPhone 5.

Underscoring the slowing pace of growth in the industry, Taiwan’s HTC has just posted its first ever quarterly loss.

It is struggling from fierce competition and limits on its supply chain.

Sales tumbled by a third from a year earlier, underscoring a dramatic decline for a company which boasts award-winning smartphones but has failed to develop a durable brand image.

“Fundamentally there are a lot of things that need to be fixed,” said Laura Chen at BNP Paribas, adding that HTC needed to work on marketing, supply chain management and streaming its product line. “No sign of recovery anytime soon.”

The company has lost 90 percent of its market value since 2011 but insists it is not for sale despite what analysts call an increasingly bleak outlook.