Apple's iPhone second best as Samsung Galaxy S3 crowned world's most popular smartphone

New research confirms that the Samsung Galaxy S3 was the world's best-selling smartphone in Q3 2012, besting the sales performance of its direct rival, the iPhone 4S.

According to figures released by research firm Strategy Analytics, Samsung sold 18 million S3 handsets in the last three months compared with Apple's iPhone 4S sales of 16.2 million. The sales of the S3 have jumped a colossal 230 per cent from June this year, when it sold just 5.4 million handsets.

The South Korean firm's market share is now 10.7 per cent and its meteoric Galaxy sales have helped it post an operating profit in excess of $7 billion (£4.56bn) for the period from July to September - a fourth consecutive record gain.

"Samsung's Galaxy S3 has proven wildly popular with consumers and operators across North America, Europe and Asia," analyst Neil Mawston told Reuters.

Although Apple's sales of the iPhone 4S actually plunged by 16 per cent in the last three months, Mawston added that the tech giant was likely to catch up with Samsung in the following months due to the expected popularity of the iPhone 5.

The news comes just days after Samsung announced that it had sold more than 30 million of its flagship Galaxy S3 handsets since it was launched just five months ago, making it one of the fastest selling smartphones in the world.

Last month, the tech superstar released its 5.5in Samsung Galaxy Note 2, a smartphone/tablet hybrid that ITProPortal's own Riyad Emeran got to spend some quality time with over the last week.

Samsung confirmed last week that the Note 2 sold 3 million devices in just 37 days.