Former WTA world #1 Maria Sharapova has signed a 3-year sponsorship deal with Samsung. The 3-time Major winner had endorsed Sony Ericsson, and before that Motorola, but with Sony lessening their tennis footprint, Masha has moved on to Samsung. The initial focus will be on Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, but the rest of the world will be added later as well. Samsung posted record profits in 2011, boosted by its line of Galaxy smartphones, including GSMA Phone of the Year, the Samsung Galaxy S2. Sharapova is already the world’s highest paid female athlete. Her agreement with Samsung should add handsomely to her bottom line. From a personal standpoint, I used a Samsung Galaxy S2 before my current handset, the Samsung Galaxy Note. They are both terrific products. But beyond phones, Samsung is a leader in display technology, television and memory chips. The Korean giant ranks #1 in all three areas based on 2011 revenue. They also manufacture many of the parts used in other smartphones and tablets, including products from Apple. Can’t wait to see the commercials from Samsung and Masha.