Smartphone Battle Is Ready to Rage

With mobile smartphones representing one of the few bright spots in the high-tech economy, the report that Google's Android is gathering more industry support sets the stage for a knock-out battle among for market share among mobile operating systems

This week, 14 new companies joined Google's Open Handset Alliance, including some big names that previously invested in Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating system. Are they now hedging their bets? Seems to me there will be a lot more of that to come because a lights-out battle is brewing among Google, Microsoft, Apple and RIM for research dollars, mindshare and ultimately, marketshare among smartphone business and consumer buyers. The market for such devices is growing, but the competition is becoming more cut-throat. (A fact highlighted this week by a spreading rumor that Walmart is about to start selling a smaller $99 iPhone.) Even Palm is getting back into the game: Yet another report says the company may be preparing to roll out a new mobile operating system at the CES show next month.

For channel partners, the main profit opportunity will be for add-on sales, service and application development for these various competing operating systems. Looks like busy time ahead for the channel.

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