Juniper Research has reported that Samsung shipped 24.9m smartphones in Q3 2011, taking the lead from Apple, which shipped 17.1m iPhones in the same period.
However, early reports of Apple's new iPhone 4S sales - which shifted 4m units in the three days after its 16 October release - suggest that Apple will take the lead back in the smartphone shipments race, barring spectacular sales of Samsung's new Galaxy Note device. The Note will be released on 3 November, two weeks earlier than previously announced.
Daniel Ashdown, research analyst at Juniper Research says: "While the 4S is essentially an iPhone 4 with hardware upgrades, Siri is going to be a killer app for Apple. And the continuation of the iPhone 4 and 3GS in effect positions the company's handsets at a range of price points, without losing their premium image."
Juniper's numbers also report a win for HTC, which doubled its shipments year-on-year in Q3 to 13.2m smartphones, overtaking RIM, which shipped 11.9m BlackBerrys - a downward shift of 8 per cent year-on-year.
Nokia's shipments improved slightly quarter-on-quarter (16.8m versus 16.7m in Q2), after two consecutive quarterly slumps. Juniper says Nokia could be set for further spikes following the launch of its first Windows Phone 7 handsets.