Samsung Galaxy S III Sells 20 Million Units as iPhone 5 Debut Nears

As Apple gears up for the launch of the iPhone 5, Samsung boasts it has sold 20 million Galaxy S III smartphones in 100 days.

Samsung had the chance to boast about a significant milestone for its Galaxy S III smartphone, which passed 20 million units sold, according to a blog post on the company's Website. The smartphone set the record just 100 days after its debut in May 2012, faster than any previous iteration of the Galaxy brand.

The announcement comes on the heels of a report from Canaccord Genuity analysts that found Galaxy S III was the top-selling phone at Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile in August, pushing the iPhone 4S from a spot it has occupied since its 2011 arrival.

"The Galaxy S III has enjoyed tremendous attention and popularity since its launch in May, and we are thrilled with its success," JK Shin, president and head of Samsung's IT and mobile communications division, said 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 fierce rivalry between Apple and Samsung has been dramatically highlighted in recent weeks as Samsung has pulled away from Apple in the battle for smartphone market share, and Apple won a closely watched, high-profile patent-infringement lawsuit against Samsung. Apple added the Galaxy S III to a list of Samsung products it wants a federal judge to ban from the U.S. market, based on those infringement claims. The list of smartphones and tablet computers Apple wants banned in this latest proceeding now numbers 21, according to the Associated Press.

All the sales figures and high court judgments form a dramatic background for the impending launch of the latest iteration of Apple's iPhone smartphone, informally dubbed the iPhone 5. Apple sent out invitations earlier this week to a special event being held Sept. 12 in San Francisco, where the long-anticipated smartphone is expected to make its debut. The launch has been the technology world's worst-kept secret for months now, as information and images concerning the look and technical specifications of the handset have leaked online. Meanwhile, rumors, speculation and analyst predictions have pushed anticipation for the device into the stratosphere. An Aug. 17 research note from Jefferies analyst Peter Misek said the iPhone 5 launch would be the biggest smartphone launch in history, and said he expects Apple to have approximately 15 million iPhone 5 handsets in inventory by mid-September.

The iPhone 5 is expected to include a larger 4-inch screen that can help it compete with the bigger displays found on the Galaxy S III and other rival devices. Despite having a larger screen size, the new iPhone is reportedly slimmer than the iPhone 4S and will sport a reconfigured charging dock with fewer pins. Other features such as 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) connectivity, near-field communication (NFC) capabilities and a more powerful battery are expected to find their way onto the iPhone 5. While no one knows for sure what will happen until Apple draws the curtain back Sept. 12, one thing is certain: The smartphone wars are far from over.