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The smartphone platform warships are steaming into Q2, positioning for what promises to be an interesting battle for the minds and pocketbooks of consumers. In a story published on Friday at the All Thing’s Digital site, Walt Mossberg did a nice job summarizing the strengths and weaknesses of the various smartphone platforms.

For most people following this space, his remarks aren’t new.  But for others, this will be helpful for discussions around the watercooler or dinner table. 

Below are a few of the things Mossberg pointed out in his piece.

  • Apple, who pioneered the new generation smartphones with its iPhone, has some fantastic stats:  30 million devices (split 17 million iPhone/13 million iPod Touch), an App Store with 30,000 apps that have been downloaded 900 million times.  Plus wireless sync is available via MobleMe and Microsoft Exchange.
  • BlackBerry, by Research in Motion, has a larger installed base (estimated at over 50 million).  They just announced their own app-store.  But the problem is that those apps will only run on the newer BlackBerry devices.  Mossberg stated “its app store, and the apps themselves in many cases, are clumsier and less polished than the iPhone’s. Most of all, the BlackBerry desperately needs a major user-interface overhaul.”
  • He said the plus side for Microsoft’s Windows Mobile is that it has a horizontal strategy, which means its platform is on numerous handsets across a number of carriers.  However, Windows Mobile is dated with a user interface that needs “a major redo.”  He also noted how there wasn’t a killer device on the Windows Mobile platform.
  • Google Android running on the “clunky” G1 at T—Moble wasn’t setting the world on fire.
  • As for Nokia, he gave them credit for understanding “software and cloud services are key.”  They also have a solid reputation for smartphones with physical keyboards.  However, the Symbian operating system is inferior to Apple or Google’s OS.  Plus, the company’s presence in the U.S. has historically been small.

Mossberg’s Pre View:

Mossberg noted that the Palm Pre and its new webOS “appear to have a real shot at competing with the iPhone and BlackBerry.”  He called out the Pre’s combination of touchscreen and physical keyboard as a strength.  On the down side, he noted the usual suspects:  Sprint as the carrier and Palm running on fumes financially.  Palm will have to mount a costly marketing campaign to match the advertising machines of Apple, RIM and Microsoft. And it may need financial incentives to tempt developers to write apps for the Pre.

As expected, there are no answers (or even predictions of success) in this overview of smartphone platform battleships.  Tricia Duryee’s in her comments that appeared in a story published on Sunday at MocoNews, stated how this is turning into a somewhat religious debate. 

And we thought the Mac vs. PC wars were bad.  This could be the mother of all wars.