Apple's iPhone has slipped temporarily behind the Samsung Galaxy SIII in terms of units shipped according to research from Strategy Analytics, but the numbers will quickly catch up to both companies as the holiday shopping season approaches.

Waiting for the Next Killer Phone

As part of Strategy Analytics's Country Share Tracker service, the company found Samsung shipped 18.0 million Galaxy SII devices worldwide during the third quarter of 2012. Apple shipped 16.2 million iPhone 4S devices in the same time frame, but also added 6 million iPhone 5 devices.

While the combined numbers of the iPhone sales top the SIII, neither of them single handedly takes down the Samsung superphone. The SIII was the most widely shipped smartphone in the world during the third quarter.

Samsung has gained such success because of the SIII's large screen size and ample carrier subsidies, the report reads. Given the release of the iPhone 5, however, the numbers will likely tilt toward Apple again as people begin upgrading during the holiday season. 


Samsung's Galaxy SIII has proved to be an even bigger hit than the smashingly successful Galaxy SII.

The most obvious problem with this research is that it goes by units shipped, and not how many phones were actually sold. Those numbers are harder to come by and understandably so. Still, it is helpful to see how the numbers swing as each device maker releases its next round of monster device. 

US Carriers Limit Smartphone Choices

In the US, at least, the major carriers like Verizon and AT&T completely dominate the choice of smartphones people buy. That is because of the way monthly data contracts are set up, a situation most other industrialized countries don't have to face. 

Without carrier interference in the smartphone marketplace, it would be hard to say which phone would be most popular, but there is a reason Sprint paid out US$ 1 billion for the right to sell the iPhone. Another reason the smartphone market is so divided is there are two different broadband technologies being used by major US carriers, and this forces manufacturers to make two different models of every phone they sell.

Whether you are looking at buying a new phone for work or if you are switching carriers to get your next new toy, you will likely hear quite a bit about the iPhone and the Galaxy SIII. Depending on where you live, you may hear a peep about new Microsoft Windows Phone 8 devices, but the WP ecosystem is still so new, it is not even on most people's radar. We do think it has strong potential, but it is a long ways behind iOS and Android devices. 

Whatever device you use, we ask that you tell us what you use it for the most in our comments section. Are you limited by your data plan or do you mostly just email people on the go? Let us know in the comments, and feel free to speculate on who will make the next big breakthrough in mobile technology whether in hardware or software.