According to Strategy Analytics, the Galaxy S3 overtook the iPhone 4S to become the world’s best-selling smartphone model for the first time ever in the third quarter of 2012. Samsung’s phone benefited from a large touchscreen, extensive distribution and various operator subsidies.

Samsung’s Galaxy S3 smartphone model shipped 18.0 million units for a 11 percent share of all smartphones shipped globally Apple shipped an estimated 16.2 million iPhone 4S units worldwide for second place, likely holding off purchases in anticipation of the 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,” notes Strategy Analytics. “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,” Strategy Analytics projects.