Apple has lost the title of world's best-selling smartphone to its bitter rival Samsung. In Q3 2012, the Samsung Galaxy S III shipped 18 million units, the iPhone 4S 16.2 million.

According to research conducted by the global independent research and consulting firm Strategy Analytics, the SGS3 held 10.7 per cent of the worldwide smartphone marketshare in the last quarter, while the iPhone 4S held 9.7 per cent.

Read: Samsung Galaxy S III review

The figures don't include the iPhone 5, launched during that period, which shipped six million units. But they also don't include the myriad other Samsung Galaxy handsets, including the recently launched Samsung Galaxy S III Mini.

samsung galaxy s3 overtakes iphone 4s as world s best selling smartphone image 2

Neil Shah, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, attributes part of Samsung's success to the larger form factor of the Android handset. "A large touchscreen design, extensive distribution across dozens of countries, and generous operator subsidies have been among the main causes of the Galaxy S3’s success," he said.

Read: Apple iPhone 5 review

With the iPhone 5 now gaining momentum, however, the analytics firm predicts Samsung's victory will be short-lived.

"The Apple iPhone 5 has gotten off to a solid start already with an estimated 6 million units shipped globally during Q3 2012," said the company's executive director, Neil Mawston, "We expect the new iPhone 5 to outship 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."

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