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Samsung Galaxy S III takes global sales lead

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(Read caption) The Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone and its little brother, the Samsung Galaxy S III Mini.

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The Samsung Galaxy S III is the top-selling smartphone in the world. 

That's the word today from tech firm Strategy Analytics, which reports that Samsung sold 18 million Galaxy S III handsets in the third quarter of this year (July through September). By comparison, Apple sold 16.2 million iPhone 4S units and 6 million iPhone 5 units in Q3. It's worth noting here that Apple technically sold more iPhones than Samsung did Galaxy S III phones – over 22 million in all, not counting any iPhone 3Gs that it might have unloaded. 

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But Strategy Analytics was looking at individual smartphone models, and by that metric, the Galaxy S III easily bested the iPhone 4S. And Android phones as a whole crushed Apple.

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"The Galaxy S III captured an impressive 11 percent share of all smartphones shipped globally and it has become the world’s best-selling smartphone model for the first time ever," Neil Shah of Strategy Analytics wrote in a press release. "A large touchscreen design, extensive distribution across dozens of countries, and generous operator subsidies have been among the main causes of the Galaxy S III's success."

Shah noted that many consumers, anticipating the fall launch of the iPhone 5, may have held off on buying an iPhone 4S, which could partially explain the distance opened up between Samsung and Apple. But it's also true that with the Galaxy S III, Samsung built a phone that really challenges the iPhone in terms of power, style, speed, and screen clarity. 

"The Galaxy S III is an amazing, amazing phone — the crème de la Android," David Pogue of the New York Times wrote in a review in June. 

For more tech news, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut.

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