Samsung Sells 20M Galaxy S III Smartphones

Sales of Samsung's 2012 flagship smartphone surpassed 20 million in 100 days, making it Samsung's most successful device.
Apple iPhone 5 Vs. Samsung Galaxy S III: What We Know
Apple iPhone 5 Vs. Samsung Galaxy S III: What We Know
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Samsung predicted the Galaxy S III would be a big seller, and it appears as though its predictions were correct. Samsung today announced that it has sold 20 million GS3 smartphones around the world since its May debut, which makes it the fastest-selling Samsung device.

Sales of the GS3 reached 10 million units in mid-July, so it's been selling at a fairly steady pace of about 5 million units per month. Samsung originally believed the GS3 would reach sales of 10 million by the end of July, so the GS3 set its quick-selling pace early.

The GS3 also recently replaced the Apple iPhone 4S as the top-selling smartphone in the U.S. The iPhone 4S held the top phone spot from October 2011 until last month, which is when Canaccord Genuity analyst T. Michael Walkley said the GS3 outsold Apple's aging iPhone.

"The Galaxy S III has enjoyed tremendous attention and popularity since its launch in May, and we are thrilled with its success," said Samsung's J.K. Shin in a prepared statement. "I would like to express my sincere appreciation to customers who have chosen the GALAXY S III. We will never stop providing the latest smart mobile technologies to help users live a life extraordinary."

The sales milestone and recent victory over Apple are laudable, but may not provide lasting satisfaction for Samsung.

The iPhone 5 is expected to make its debut September 12, and could reach stores as soon as September 21. If it does, you can bet that sales of the GS3 will nosedive while sales of the iPhone 5 ramp up quickly. One analyst predicts that Apple may sell as many as 10 million iPhone 5 units in the first few days it is available.

The iPhone 5 will likely offer a larger display, new design, LTE 4G, and other features.

Beyond the iPhone 5's potential impact on GS3 sales, the on-going legal entanglements between Apple and Samsung might sour Samsung's victory.

After Apple won its high-profile patent lawsuit last month, it sought to ban sales of eight Samsung devices in the U.S. Many of these devices are already out of circulation, but Apple added the GS3 to the mix of devices that it wants banned. Right now, the judge isn't going to review Apple's requests until December, but that date may be moved up.

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