BOSTON – Samsung’s Galaxy S III overtook the iPhone 4 as the world’s best-selling smartphone in the third quarter, but the honor won’t last for long because of the strength of the recently launched iPhone 5, Strategy Analytics said.
The research and consulting company cited the phone’s large touchscreen, extensive distribution and “generous” operator subsidies for the success of the S III, which was launched earlier this year. Consumers who postponed iPhone 4S purchases to wait for the iPhone 5 also helped Samsung take top spot, the company said.
The S III’s shipments surged in the third quarter to 18 million from a second-quarter 5.4 million, while iPhone 4S shipments slipped to 16.2 million from 19.4 million. The iPhone 5, just launched, accounted for 6 million shipments.
All told, Samsung’s S III accounted for 10.7 percent of worldwide smartphones shipped in the third quarter compared with the iPhone 4S’s 9.7 percent and the iPhone 5’s 3.6 percent.
The Galaxy S III’s position as the world’s bestselling smartphone model “is likely to be short-lived,” said executive director Neil Mawston. “The Apple iPhone 5 has gotten off to a solid start already with an estimated 6 million units shipped globally during Q3 2012. We expect the new iPhone 5 to out-ship Samsung’s Galaxy S III in the coming fourth quarter of 2012, and Apple should soon reclaim the title of the world’s most popular smartphone model.”