Samsung’s Galaxy S III Passes iPhone as Quarter’s Top Smartphone

Apple might have hurled legions of high-priced patent attorneys directly at Samsung’s product portfolio, but all that legal fervor hasn’t stopped Samsung’s Galaxy S III from seizing the title of world’s bestselling smartphone model, according to new data from Strategy Analytics.

“Samsung’s Galaxy S3 smartphone model shipped 18.0 million units worldwide during the third quarter of 2012,” Neil Shah, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, wrote in a Nov. 8 statement accompanying the data. “The Galaxy S3 captured an impressive 11 percent share of all smartphones shipped globally and it has become the world’s best-selling smartphone model for the first time ever.”

But Strategy Analytics suggests Samsung’s crown could be temporary. “The Apple iPhone 5 has gotten off to a solid start already with an estimated 6.0 million units shipped globally during Q3 2012,” wrote Neil Mawston, the firm’s executive director. “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.”

Even if the iPhone 5 retakes the top slot on Strategy Analytics’ list, however, Android remains a growing threat to Apple’s strategy in the smartphone space. Research firm IDC recently estimated that Android accounted for 75 percent of the 181.1 million smartphone shipped in the third quarter of 2012. Samsung has become one of the top vendors of Android mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets.

IDC estimated Apple’s grip on the smartphone market at 14.9 percent, well behind Android but safely ahead of Research In Motion’s BlackBerry franchise (at 4.3 percent) and Microsoft’s smartphone platforms at 2.0 percent.

“Android has been one of the primary growth engines of the smartphone market since it was launched in 2008,” Ramon Llamas, research manager of mobile phones at IDC, wrote in a statement accompanying the firm’s data. “In every year since then, Android has effectively outpaced the market and taken market share from the competition. In addition, the combination of smartphone vendors, mobile operators, and end-users who have embraced Android has driven shipment volumes higher.”


Image: Strategy Analytics