The Samsung Galaxy S III has passed the iPhone 4S in Q3 as the worlds best selling smartphone. The reason for this surge in popularity is vast distribution and hefty operator subsidies. 18m Galaxy S IIIs were shipped during the July-September period, compared to 16.2m iPhone 4S devices. This data comes from research firm Strategy Analytics.

Of course, if you add the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S, Apple actually shipped 22.2m devices with iPhone in the name, but we’re talking about individual SKUs, so Samsung still wins this one. The craziest thing about this is that these three phones add up to 24-percent of the total smartphones sold. Of course, Apple and Samsung will probably not be celebrating their dominance together, as they don’t seem to be on the best of terms.

Ironically, Apple’s lawsuits against Samsung could actually be one of the main reasons for the Galaxy S III’s jump in sales. Apple’s claims against the Korean company have actually put it into the public eye, and caused increased sales. Either way, it’s good to Samsung sitting on the top of the charts.

Only time will tell if Samsung can hold onto that top spot. Analysts claim that part of the reason for the decrease in iPhone 4S sales in Q3 was people waiting for the iPhone 5 to hit the market. Now that the iPhone 5 will be out for all of Q4, we will have to wait and see if Samsung can hang on or if Apple will grab the top spot.

[via SlashGear]