Samsung has usurped Apple’s throne as the biggest seller of smartphones in the third quarter of 2012.

The data, collected by Strategy Analytics from July 1 to September 30, shows Samsung shipping 18 million Galaxy S3 devices to Apple’s 16.2 million iPhone 4S smartphones. The Galaxy S3 was released on May 29th of this year, helping Samsung to achieve overall record smartphone sales in Q3. The preorders for the Android smartphone surpassed 10 million last quarter, in contrast to Apple’s 4 million preorders for the iPhone 4S. This surge in sales combined with constant rumors of the iPhone 5’s release allowed for the Galaxy S3 to overtake sales of the iPhone 4S.

Samsung and Apple have been in a nasty legal battle for some time now as they sue each other over various patent infringements. (Just today, Apple secured a patent on rounded rectangles. Really.)

The mobile war is not over yet though. Apple is expected to reclaim its throne in the fourth quarter as iPhone 5 sales soar.

Both Apple and Samsung are leading the industry for mobile photography with their hardware and software. Our reviews of the Galaxy S3 and iPhone 5 revealed their photographic capabilities—both offer an 8-megapixel camera as well as an easy point-and-shoot camera user interface with manual focusing capabilities. 

The iPhone 4S couldn't hold on to the top spot after the Galaxy S3 was released.

Full press release:

Samsung Galaxy S3 Overtakes Apple iPhone 4S to Become World's Best-Selling Smartphone Model in Q3 2012

According to new research from our Country Share Tracker (CST) service, Samsung’s Galaxy S3 overtook Apple’s iPhone 4S to become the world’s best-selling smartphone model for the first time ever in the third quarter of 2012. A large touchscreen, extensive distribution and generous operator subsidies have propelled the Galaxy S3 to the top spot.

Samsung’s Galaxy S3 smartphone model shipped 18.0 million units worldwide during the third quarter of 2012. The Galaxy S3 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. 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. Apple shipped an estimated 16.2 million iPhone 4S units worldwide for second place, as consumers temporarily held off purchases in anticipation of a widely expected iPhone 5 upgrade at the end of the quarter.

Samsung’s Galaxy S3 has proven wildly popular with consumers and operators across North America, Europe and Asia. However, the Galaxy S3’s position as the world’s best-selling smartphone model is likely to be short-lived. The Apple iPhone 5 has gotten off to a solid start already with an estimated 6.0 million units shipped globally during Q3 2012. We expect the new iPhone 5 to out-ship 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.