Handsets Two Horse Race

Al Ries and Jack Trout wrote it in many of their marketing best-sellers: “In the long run, every market becomes a  two horse race”. Jack Welch, legend ex-CEO of GE, made popular his rule of closing every business unit where GE was not number one or number two.

Mobile handsets market is not different, and in each segment expect in the long-run a one-two race. Here are my bets for the winning horses:

Business segment: Blackberry and a distant second Windows Mobile. RIM’s devices are trusted by companies to provide secure access to email, intranet, enterprise directories, sync with MS Exchange calendar and address book. Not to name a great user experience for mobile email. This segment is an opportunity for Microsoft to extend their dominant position in the desktop and email solutions for enterprises. This is Microsoft’s only chance to secure a position in the mobile handsets (read GigaOm views on Windows Mobile). RIM’s increasing arrogance could open an opportunity for Microsoft, provided they can learn to play humble.

Personal SmartPhone segment: iPhone and Android. These two platforms are in a different league (read TechCrunch comparative) due to their coolness, rich applications and engaging user experience. With new Android models coming to close the beauty gap with the iPhone, these two are going to be the choice for people that want to enjoy the web, cool apps and multimedia everywhere. Enterprises will be reluctant to buy these gadgets for employees for some years.

Mobile Phones segment: Nokia and Samsung. This is the segment of telephones with a dial-pad, a poor camera, some multimedia features and packaged in a candy bar or clam-shell form. Still, essentially telephones with a dial-pad. Low cost, emerging countries and laggards. Nokia retains leadership. Before the Chinese vendors come, Samsung could be a good candidate for a second place, before Sony Ericsson and Motorola, provided they all survived with some other Android handsets in the other two segments.

Which ones are your bets?