the state of mobile platforms and how the era for launching new platforms has come to an end. I tend to take a different view of the mobile market. There are currently six major platforms vying for the hearts and minds of users and third party applications developers -- RIM's Blackberry, Microsoft's Windows Mobile, Apple's iPhone, Nokia's s60, Palm's WebOS and Google's Android -- and there's simply no way the market will support that many device ecosystems. But there may yet be opportunity for other players to enter the market.
This is not a new phenomenon. In the early 80s there were a multitude of personal computing platforms. Atari, Commodore, Radio Shack, Texas Instruments, Apple and even Timex (yes, Timex) all were in the personal computing business, long before IBM entered the game. All survived for a period of time selling to an enthusiast market with a focus on out of the box featuresets. Once the target became the mass market, however, user expectations changed from the out of box experience (which essentially meant programming in Basic) to additional capabilities provided by third party software. The success or failure of each PC platform was decided in no small part by the availability of third party software. Exclusive titles, best of breed titles, and titles that appeared on a given platform first determined winners and losers. The same thing is happening today in the mobile space.