The Samsung Galaxy S3 may have reigned supreme between July and September, but the Apple iPhone 5 surpassed its rival in the fourth quarter to become the world's best-selling smartphone.

Strategy Analytics estimates that the US manufacturer shipped 27.4 million units of its flagship device across the globe in the three-month period.

This increased significantly from just six million in the third quarter because the device did not go on sale until September 21st, or later in some countries.

The fifth-generation predecessor the managed to maintain impressive sales, as it continues to attract consumers looking for a slightly more affordable Apple gadget.

More than 17 million iPhone 4S handsets were shipped in the final three months of 2012, up seven per cent on a quarterly basis, perhaps due to higher demand over the festive season.

On the other hand, the South Korean company only managed to send out 15.4 million, likely as sales start to wane following a May 2012 release date.

Posted by Peter Robinson

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