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Samsung Galaxy S 3 Bests iPhone 4S

Samsung Galaxy S 3 now top selling smartphone in the U.S., as consumers pass on aging iPhone 4S and eye iPhone 5 debut.

The Apple iPhone 4S has been the number one smartphone sold in the United States since its October 2011 debut. After an 11-month reign, it has ceded the top spot to Apple archrival Samsung. According to retail checks conducted by analyst firm Canaccord Genuity, the Samsung Galaxy S 3 outsold the iPhone 4S in the month of August, making the GS3 the number one smartphone in the U.S.

"We believe this is the first month since the iPhone 4S launched in October 2011 that it was not the top selling smartphone in the U.S. market," said Canaccord analyst T. Michael Walkley, who called cellphone retailers to gauge device sales. Walkley's comments were reported by CNET.

The iPhone 4S went on sale at AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon Wireless stores in mid-October 2011. In 2012, it eventually reached a number of prepaid providers, including Virgin Mobile USA, C Spire Wireless, and others. The device retails for $199 to $399 when sold with a contract, but costs as much as $749 if sold without a contract. The iPhone 4S looks identical to the iPhone 4, which was released in June 2010. To say that it is getting a bit long in the tooth with consumers is perhaps being generous.

Apple is widely expected to debut the iPhone 5 (or whatever it will be called) at an event in San Francisco on September 12. It is highly likely that sales of the iPhone 4S have slowed due to anticipation for the new hardware from Apple.

[ Apple's $1.05 billion patent win against Samsung isn't a victory for anyone who values innovation. Learn why; read Apple Worked A Broken Patent System. ]

The iPhone 5 is expected to offer a brand new form factor for the first time in more than two years. Most expect the iPhone 5 to have a larger display and faster processor, when compared to the iPhone 4S, as well as LTE 4G.

That shouldn't diminish Samsung's achievement, however. The GS3 is one of the best Android devices available at the moment. It retails for $199 or $249, and is available from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, Verizon Wireless, as well as a handful of smaller, regional operators. It boasts a gorgeous display, Android 4.0, LTE 4G, and a fantastic 8-megapixel camera.

It went on sale in European and Asian markets in May, and followed in the U.S. in late June and early July. Samsung sold 10 million of them before the end of July. These markers gel with a recent study that suggested Samsung device owners are dropping old phones for the GS3.

Walkley also noted that sales of competing models form HTC, Nokia, and RIM continue to be weak in the wake of the GS3. All three firms have had trouble selling devices against the iPhone and Samsung's onslaught of Galaxy-branded Android smartphones.

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