More great news for mobile giant Samsung: quarterly profits for the world leader in mobile phone and memory chip sales have gone up for the fifth consecutive quarter.

Sales for Samsung rose to 8.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012 largely on the back of its Galaxy line of smartphones sales performance. In that period, Reuters estimates that the Koreans sold close to 500 handsets every minute.

Despite it being a traditionally weak sales period, earnings could grow yet again in the first quarter of 2013 due to increasing chip prices. Another reason that sales may see another quarterly increase is the possibility that Samsung may release the next version of its Galaxy S in the first quarter.

Samsung’s record sales streak has been lead by the growing popularity of its flagship phone lines, the Galaxy S3, which overtook the iPhone 4S in the third quarter to become the world’s best-selling smartphone, and the Galaxy Note 2.

Not to be overlooked is the sheer number of phone models being released by the Korean electronics giant. Samsung released no fewer than 37 phone variants to the market in 2012, compared to only 18 for HTC and, of course, only one for Apple.

Samsung’s growth is expected to continue to balloon in 2013. Market research firm Strategic Analytics forecasts that the number of Samsung smartphones sold will increase from 215 million in 2012 to 290 million in 2013. For comparison, Apple is expected to sell 180 million iPhones in 2013, up from last year’s 135 million.

Shea Harris

Shea is a freelance writer, marketer, consultant, and tech enthusiast who has a particular passion for Android. When not writing he works as an internet media consultant for small businesses. In his free time he enjoys sports, home theater, and listenin’ to the blues. Be sure to follow him on Twitter and Google +!