Samsung Galaxy S III passes iPhone in popularity— but it may not last

November 8, 2012

It seems those snarky Samsung ads are working. According to data from Strategy Analytics, the Samsung Galaxy S III was the world’s hottest smartphone in the third quarter. The phone shipped 18 million units to the 16.2 million in shipments from Apple’s iPhone 4S.

Neil Shah, a senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics, said in a statement that it’s the first time that the Galaxy S III has taken the top spot in the market ,with 11 percent share overall.

The party, however, may be short-lived. The iPhone 5 has yet to hit its stride, and its impending release dampened enthusiasm for the iPhone 4S. And even though the device launched late in the quarter on Sept. 12, Strategy Analytics still has it as the third-most popular model of smartphone in the world with six million shipped.

The competition between Samsung and Apple is fierce, but the companies’ legal grapples have raised the Galaxy line’s profile considerably. The company recently announced that even its Galaxy Note II — a 5.5-inch device that serves a very particular niche of smartphone consumers — sold 3 million units in a little over a month.

Apple recently filed further infringement claims against Samsung, targeting the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet and the operating system that powers it — Google’s latest build of Android, version 4.1 or Jelly Bean. As VentureBeat reported the trial addressing those complaints is set for 2014.

The Korean company announced in October that it had sold 56.3 million smartphones and solidifying its position as the largest handset maker in the world. Apple, meanwhile, sold 26.9 million iPhones in the same period of time, including 5 million iPhone 5 units in the first weekend.

Apple has, however, had some trouble meeting demand for its latest smartphone. The AFP reported that Foxconn chairman Terry Gou told reporters this week that the major Apple supplier is having problems meeting demand in part because the newest iPhone’s case is difficult to produce. Apple chief executive Tim Cook said in an October conference call that while he’s not sure when supply will balance with demand, he believes Apple is in good shape for the December quarter.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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