During the final quarter of 2012, Apple’s iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S were the two top selling handsets in the world. Samsung’s Galaxy S III took third place, according to Strategy Analytics.

From October through December, Apple sold 27.4 million iPhone 5 units. During the same time, 17.4 million iPhone 4S units were sold. In total, Apple accounted for nearly 21 percent of all smartphones sold.

“This was an impressive performance, given the iPhone portfolio’s premium pricing,” said Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics.

Source: Strategy Analytics

Source: Strategy Analytics

Earlier this month, Strategy Analytics concluded that Apple had sold more iPhones in the U.S. versus Samsung’s flagship phone.

During the quarter, Apple is said to have shipped 17.7 million iPhone units in the U.S. This compared to Samsung’s 16.8 million units. For all of 2012, Samsung led with 53 million units shipped, compared to Apple’s 43.7 million. For the year, Samsung still reigned with 31.8 percent of all shipments. Apple’s share was 26.2 percent during the same time period.

Samsung is expected to announce the Galaxy S IV next month. Once that happens, Apple’s position at the top of the smartphone food chain will almost certainly be challenged.