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Samsung Galaxy S3 white (front-facing)

Android is streaking ahead in the smartphone OS stakes these days, with the vast array of Google-backed handsets helping to beat down iOS and make every other mobile system look on with envy.

But when it comes to individual smartphone success, the iPhone has been out front on its own for years. Until now, that is.

samsung galaxy s3 mini both

News that the Samsung Galaxy SIII shifted a colossal 18 million units in the third quarter of 2012, topping the smartphone charts for the first time, should have Apple seriously worried.

Of course, a look at the bigger picture suggests that Apple is most likely to return to number one in the fourth quarter.

While its iPhone 4S was in second place with 16.2 million units sold and the iPhone 5 was back in third on 6 million, the latter looks nailed on to overtake Samsung’s effort.

It was only launched at the end of Q3 and is clearly storming into the lead. But perhaps the most impressive statistic from Strategy Analytics’ research is the boost in sales of the Galaxy S3.

In Q2, the device sold just 5.4 million units. For that to more than triple in the following three months shows just how well Sammy is doing right now.

The S3 is undoubtedly the best Android phone out there, a bleeding-edge powerhouse that offers everything an anti-Apple smartphone lover could want.

iPhone 5 official retina display close-up

For specs fanatics, it’s way ahead of the game. And for those who don’t want the same old iPhone, it’s a no brainer. So should Apple have cause for concern? On one hand, no.

The iPhone 5 is doing well despite some rather poor aspects (Maps, low Siri take- up and those bumps and scrapes in evidence on brand new devices) and has the cachet of the Cupertino brand that average consumers can’t get enough of.

But conversely, Samsung’s success plays largely into the current narrative of Apple being on a minor downward swing, as evidenced in its recent PR failings and placing of corporate interests ahead of end-user experience Maps being the prime example).

apple maps stratford

Apple will say it’s not concerned, but you can bet there’ll be plenty of worried execs at Infinite Loop. The question is, can Samsung build on this success and sustain its position in 2013?

The Galaxy S4 is already being gossiped about and promises to take Android to the next level.

The inevitable 4G edition could be at the forefront of a more permanent shift at the top of the smartphone tables next year. Samsung will certainly be hoping so.

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