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Samsung, LG Forecast Smartphone Gains

Both firms have raised their goals for 2010 and are betting heavily on Google's Android platform.
After increasing their global market share for mobile phones last year, South Korean electronics giants Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics reported Friday that they are raising their goals again for 2010.

Samsung nailed down the second place position behind Nokia as it reported it delivered 227 million handsets, far surpassing its predicted 200 million sales units for 2009. Earlier Samsung said it is targeting the smartphone market and is planning to ship more than 18 million smartphone handsets this year.

Samsung, which in addition to its mobile phone unit manufactures memory chips, liquid crystal displays, and TVs, passed Hewlett-Packard as the largest electronics firm by sales last year. "Our financial standing is on a global level," said Samsung president and CEO Choi Gee-sung at the stockholders meeting. "We have become a world class company."

LG also predicted improved growth in its mobile phone operation, planning to achieve 19% growth this year to 140 million units. Most South Korean firms reported their 2009 results on Friday, in a national strategy to diffuse and scatter the traditional demonstrations -- often intense -- by shareholders and employees.

Samsung and LG have lagged in smartphone deliveries, but both have vowed to attack the market aggressively in the U.S. and elsewhere. Their approaches differ with Samsung planning to build off its proprietary Bada operating system, while LG has said it won't launch its own operating system.

Both firms are betting heavily on Google's Android platform, however. Samsung has said it is developing more proprietary software and other content. Samsung and LG had been hoping to pick up smartphone market share from faltering Motorola, but the U.S. company itself has been waging a comeback of sorts with its new Android handsets.

While the two companies combined represent about 30% of the overall mobile handset market, they have captures just 5% of the smartphone market, according to recent market share reports.

At their annual meetings Friday both companies noted that there continue to be global economic uncertainties as major economies wind down their stimulus programs.