Smartphone wars; one platform will never rule them all

With all the excitement surrounding the latest Google Android devices people are starting to make statements about Android or Apple winning the smartphone war. There will never be a single winner in the smartphone space and people should not even count out Symbian with their current double digit lead and exciting future prospects with the Symbian Foundation work. The smartphone market is exciting and fluid with the flexibility to let anyone step in and take a share of the pie while others continue to improve as well.

Verizon Wireless commercials have been pounding away directly at the Apple iPhone and looking at the Motorola DROID and all of the hands-on reviews starting to appear does give you reason to pause and wonder just how far Android will go and if they will take away the edge from the iPhone. Joe Wilcox at Betanews posted an article stating that the iPhone cannot win the smartphone wars. He wrote about the comparison between Apple and Windows in the PC space and also about the huge number of junk apps in the App Store. He concludes by stating that Android is looking to be the mobile OS of the future, similar to the statements I have made about Android and the future of mobile phones.

Another writer, Jim Dalrymple, posted an article stating that he does not think Apple will lose the smartphone war, in large part due to the ecosystem they have built around iTunes and media content that is easy to enjoy on the iPhone. I think one of the areas that may hurt Apple's chances is their apparent arrogance in dictating what users need, rather than fully listening to what users want (look at MMS on the iPhone). Then again, Apple can sure make what they do seem like the best solution around, can't they?

Something that I have been thinking of given all of the news and excitement around the latest Google Android, HTC HD2 Windows Mobile, and Nokia N900 devices is that Apple too has been working on the next generation(s) of iPhone devices that we are sure to see roll out in 2010. Given the shakeup in the mobile industry that Apple created with the iPhone, there is definitely cause for excitement in 2010 to see if Apple can once again leap past all the other mobile operating systems that have now caught up in terms of user interface elements. The iPhone isn't so special now with devices like the Motorola Droid, HTC Hero, Nokia N900, and others so it will be interesting to see if they try to blow the others away or stay in the smartphone race as just another comparable option. Jim thinks that "Apple will outclass them all", but I am not so quick to accept that seeing what others have been able to come out with lately.

I personally doubt there will ever be a clear cut winner in the smartphone war and do not think there has to be. Consumers benefit from competition and life would be boring if all we had was the iPhone. People were quite impressed by the work Palm did with the Pre and WebOS and for several months they generated quite a bit of optimism and excitement in a crowded space. I honestly doubt Palm will be making smartphone devices for much longer given the lack of adoption of WebOS, but they were able to play in the game for at least another year based on a single device and brand new operating system.

Symbian currently still leads everyone by a considerable margin and even all the 2012 forecasts still show them with a double figure lead over the next platform competitor. We haven't even seen the results of their Symbian Foundation work that may blow the doors off of everything we have seen to date, thus propelling Symbian the other direction into a further market share lead. The smartphone market is constantly moving and I am just happy to be along and enjoying the ride.

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