Apr 27, 7:48 PM EDT

Samsung's 1Q profit up 14 percent after early phone debut

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Samsung Electronics says its first-quarter net profit rose 14 percent.

The South Korean company on Thursday reported it earned 5.3 trillion won ($4.6 billion) for its January-March quarter, compared with 4.6 trillion won a year earlier.

That's above the average forecast of analysts polled by FactSet of 4.7 trillion won.

Samsung Electronics launched the latest iterations of its flagship Galaxy smartphones in March, about a month earlier than the new phone launch last year. Prices were cheaper than the previous versions.

Analysts said the early debut and Samsung's pricing strategy helped boost sales during the quarter amid softer demand for the iPhone 6S and the absence of new products from competitors.

But they are divided whether the strong phone sales could continue as the global smartphone market growth remains flat.

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