Mobile analyst firm Juniper Research ( estimates that the number of smartphone shipments exceeded 157 million in the third quarter (Q3) this year, with Samsung increasing its lead in terms of unit shipments.

In the third quarter of 2012, the Korean-based company shipped a record 56.3 million smartphones, representing almost double the market share of its rival Apple, which sold 26.9 million. Samsung’s flagship device, the Galaxy S3, played a key role, with estimated sales of 18 million in the third quarter.

However, with the festive season still to come, and with a new and refreshed product line, including the iPhone 5, Apple is expected to better its sales in the fourth quarter, according to Juniper Research.