Smartphone wars: The big picture

Apple, Google, RIM, Microsoft, Nokia, Palm, Linux -- who's in it for the long haul?

Two news events -- the imminent arrival of Research in Motion's (rimm) newest entry and Apple (aapl) falling behind Google (goog) in U.S. market share -- has triggered some interesting long-term thinking about where we are in the battle for smartphone supremacy.

Here's who we've been reading (while we are supposed to be on vacation):

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"The iPhone is a blip on the radar and is meaningless in the long war for the OS. We have recently seen newcomers join the battle, but there was a time when Microsoft's Windows Mobile powered 3 out of every 10 smartphones. There was a time when Palm was the world's second bestselling smartphone. There are new rivals today, but the smartphone was invented by Nokia. The giant of smartphones, when Palm challenged it was Nokia. Palm died in that contest. The giant when Microsoft challenged for the smartphone market was Nokia. Microsoft lost its 2nd place and is today lingering in 5th place. The giant when RIM challenged for it, was Nokia. RIM growth has stalled and is now on a plateau or even declining. The giant when Apple challenged it, was Nokia. Apple's iPhone reached its peak market share in 2009 and is now in decline. Now the newest challenger is Android." (link)

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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