The iPhone is still the king of the smartphone world, but there’s a reason that Apple (AAPL) has started taking Samsung (005930) much more seriously over the past year. Barron’s points us to new sales estimates from Raymond James analyst Tavis McCourt showing that Samsung’s Galaxy series — which includes both traditional smartphones such as the Galaxy S 4 and larger “phablets” such as the Galaxy Note II — has been generating remarkable momentum for the past 12 months. Overall McCourt found that Galaxy sales surged from just 9 million in the first quarter of 2012 to 19 million in Q2 to 28 million in Q3 to a whopping 38 million in Q4. While these aren’t iPhone numbers, they’re certainly very impressive, especially considering that Galaxy sales actually topped iPhone sales in Q3 when consumers were waiting for Apple to release the iPhone 5.