Year End - The year of the new mobile operating system

Symbian, Linux, Research in Motion and Windows Mobile have been the main players, but Apple and Google are now giving the market a shake up.

But the new operating systems should also serve to grow the number of developers, Horn said. Developers will continue to have to make bets about which platform will pay off. "That's always been the case. Developers say, 'where's the biggest market for my talents and which market has the lowest cost to enter.' In many ways, it's an economically driven decision for developers," Horn said.

The experts agree that the new operating systems don't pose a threat to any particular existing platform provider. "The more entrants in the near term means faster growth in the category, driving us all up collectively," Horn said. "There will be big players and there will be niche players, we'll see different business models."

Hazelton agreed. "There's more a benefit than a threat because it serves to broaden awareness of smartphones," he said.

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Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service

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