The battle for supremacy in mobile computing operating systems has been joined. The main battleground will be in apps because that's what sells the hardware. Apps are expensive to develop so it is inevitable that there will be a shakeout in the number and variety of operating systems,
The main players are:
Apple - Out front because they are leading the way and are cool.
Android - Coming up strong with a well sorted OS and good development environment.
Windows Mobile - A late starter but also looking strong, especially after Microsoft's hook up with Nokia.
Blackberry - In deep trouble in my opinion. I think they are too small to survive and I expect them to disappear soon.
HP - Late to market with an old Palm operating system. Unlikely to make an impact.
I have ported my iPhone unit conversion app to both Android and Windows Mobile. Both were pretty easy to manage and a lot simpler than the development of the original Apple version. I tried to port it to Blackberry too but I just could not get the development tools to run reliably. For me, this failure just confirms RIMs failure to look after their app developers.
So who will win the war? My guess is Apple and either Google (Android) or Microsoft (Windows). I don't think that ultimately there's room for three big players.