Apple’s iPhone 4S is no longer the No. 1 smartphone in the world as Samsung’s Galaxy S3 has overtook the iPhone to become the world’s best-selling smartphone for the first time ever in the third quarter of 2012, says the latest research report from Strategy Analytics.

According to the report, its large touchscreen, extensive distribution and generous operator subsidies helped the Galaxy S3 push aside Apple iPhone that ruled the smartphone industry for more than two years.

Neil Shah, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics, said that Samsung sold as many as 18 million units of the Galaxy S3 during the third quarter of 2012 while Apple, in comparison, sold an estimated 16.2 million iPhone 4S units worldwide during the same period of time as consumers temporarily held off purchases in anticipation of a widely expected iPhone 5 upgrade at the end of the quarter.

In its road to become the world’s best-selling smartphone, Samsung Galaxy S3 captured an impressive 11 percent share of all smartphones shipped globally, said Shah.

Strong sales of the flagship smartphone also helped Samsung post a record $7.3 billion operating profit in the July-September quarter, Reuters reported.

Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, said that Samsung's Galaxy S3 had proven wildly popular with consumers and operators across North America, Europe and Asia.

However, Mawston added that Galaxy S3’s victory was likely to be short-lived. In support to his estimation, Mawston talked about the new iPhone 5 that has gotten off to a solid start already with an estimated 6 million units shipped globally during the third quarter of 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,” he said.

[Source: Strategy Analytics]

According to CNET UK, although the initial sales figures of the iPhone 5 suggest that Apple would regain the top spot once the figures for the last quarter of the year are compiled, the Samsung Galaxy S3 would “continue to sell like hot cakes too, especially with a couple of fillips arriving recently: new colors, new Jelly Bean software and a 4G version called the S3 LTE.”

At a time when Samsung secured victory over Apple, some reports also suggested that the Cupertino tech giant is going to take “strategic control of the means of production of some essential components to defend itself against its rivals,” Computerworld reported.

The report cited another report by DigiTimes, which claimed that “Apple is reportedly directly communicating and putting in orders with upstream material makers to produce various products that have specialized specifications while skipping assemblers and parts makers as part of the overall production process, according to industry sources.”

The report said that Apple was looking for a “more vertically integrated” business model and was “taking precautions” to keep its supply sufficient.