By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
June 21, 2010

In the converging market for mobile devices, vendors vie for second place, says an analyst

Things look bleak for everybody but Apple (AAPL) and maybe Google (GOOG) in a brief report to clients issued Monday by Deutsche Bank’s Chris Whitmore.

“The distinction between smartphones, tablets and low-end notebooks is blurring rapidly,” he writes. “Currently there are just two main competitors where we believe Apple’s user experience is industry leading and Android is the next best alternative.”

In Whitmore’s scenario, Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows Mobile, Nokia’s (NOK) Symbian and Research in Motion’s (RIMM) BlackBerry lag far behind.

He describes “two flashing signposts” this week that highlight the trend:

  1. Nokia’s negative pre-announcement coincided with reports that iPhone 4 pre-orders are skyrocketing (600K+)
  2. Online search trends for the iPhone show surging, global interest in Apple’s platform.

“Taken together,” he writes, “iPhone 4 is tracking to be the most successful new product launch in Apple’s history. … Ultimately, we believe most vendors are playing for second place, left to chase Apple’s galloping pace.”

Apple remains Whitmore’s top pick with a buy rating and a $350/share price target.

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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