First if we look at the major smartphone operating systems

Iphone OS
Blackberry OS
Webos
Symbian
Windows Mobile
Android

Numerous Linux flavours which ie LIMO etc.. that perhaps won't see the light of day in numbers to be significant or remain in Japan/ Far east.

Some conclusions

Of the 4 propietary os - Iphone, Blackberry, Webos and Winmo only MS does not make a device but I believe they will be making the rumoured Zune Phone.

Symbian and Android are now open source even though many relate Symbian with Nokia who have been the largest producer of Symbian phones.

Latest market stats from Gartner
Worldwide phone sales declined 9.4% in Q1 2009, says Gartner Unwired View

Nokia 41.2%
Blackberry 19.9%
Iphone 10.8%
HTC 5.4%
Fujitsu 3.8%
Others 18.8% (made up of Winmo, Android, Linux flavours)

Gartner - Apple 2.0

Symbian and Winmo will continue to lose market share until they bring out their new o/s - Symbian is stated for q42009 and Winmo 7 next year.

Android will gain traction q42009 onwards but the 2 juggernaughts still remain - Blackberry and Iphone.

With Iphone looking at expanding into China - their market share will continue to increase.

So where does Pre fit into all of this?

Well the smartphone market is big enough to support all 6 major o/s at the moment 140m smartphones were sold in FY2008 with an expected growth rate between 5-10% there is more than enough room for everyone to expand.

It is dangerous to make comparisons with the smartphone market and the PC market where MS and Intel became the dominant suppliers with the box shifters Dell etc having to make by on thin margins.

What is most significant is that in the Smartphone market the o/s that will remain will be propietary o/s that are exclusive to the manufacturer - ie webos, blackberry and Iphone.

For example it costs Google circa $100m to develop the Android o/s. They are still developing the o/s and who is bearing these costs when no one is paying for the o/s- Google. There will come a time when Google will realise that the great benefit of an open source o/s is also its weakness.

With a multitude of manufacturers making the Android devices there will be a multitude of screen sizes and to differentiate their products they will start to re-skin the o/s to the point it will resemble the Android o/s less and less. This fragmentation will be similar to the Linux.

Unlike PC which come with a standard input- keyboard and mouse (irrespective of screen size) some phones will be all touchscreen, others might have a full querty keypad, or a normal 12 key keypad or even a 20 key keypad etc..

The success of Blackberry and Iphone has been due to the hardware control - it is seen as a major benefit for developers that there is only 1 screen size to develop for Iphone and that the latest blackberry all have the similar keypad. Symbian success has been in short due to Nokia wielding such control over it and making sure that their phones have the same UI across all their range.

Palm needs to continue develop the Web/os and not sub licence it - Palm jewel is the Web/os and not their manufacturing - this is where companies like Samsung, Nokia, LG, HTC lead. The hardware in the Pre is not propietary - its all made my third party suppliers what is exceptional is the o/s.

Apple does not lead on hardware - they dont make the screens, the CPU, flash memory etc.. but they make a product that has a good blend of hardware and software.