By Khurram Aziz | Nov 08, 2012 02:00 PM EST
A report from research firm Strategy Analytics suggests that Samsung's latest Galaxy S3 device outstripped the iPhone 4S in sales in the third quarter of 2012, making the South Korean firm the biggest smartphone company in the world.
The report shows that the S3 has 10.7% of the global smartphone market, relegating Apple's iPhone 4S to second place with 9.7%, while the recently launched iPhone 5 only commands 3.6% of global share.
In absolute numbers, says Strategy Analytics, Samsung sold 18 million handsets in the third quarter of 2012, compared to the iPhone 4S which only sold 16.2 millions.
"A large touchscreen design, extensive distribution across dozens of countries and generous operator subsidies have been among the main causes of the Galaxy S3's success," Strategy Analytics said in its report.
However, Neil Mawston, executive director at the research firm, said the numbers are misleading as they were taken at the end of the iPhone 4S production cycle. Figures in the next quarter, which will take into account the iPhone 5, should see Apple return to top spot, he said.
"Samsung's Galaxy S3 has proven wildly popular with consumers and operators across North America, Europe and Asia," said Mawston. "However, the Galaxy S3's position as the world's best-selling smartphone model is likely to be short-lived. The Apple iPhone 5 has gotten off to a solid start already with an estimated six million units shipped globally during Q3 2012. We expect the new iPhone 5 to out-ship Samsung's Galaxy S3 in the coming fourth quarter of 2012 and Apple should soon reclaim the title of the world's most popular smartphone model."
The news of Samsung's ascendency in the smartphone market came at a bad time for Apple. Shares of the company have slipped 21% from their record high of $702 in September when the iPhone 5 was launched.
To add to its worries, the head of the Taiwanese company which is responsible for manufacturing Apple's products, Terry Gou of Foxconn, has told reporters that the company is struggling to meet demands.
By contrast, Samsung is riding high, having reported record profits of $7.4bn for the third quarter of 2012.
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