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Apple vs Google: and you win

Why competition in the mobile space is good for consumers

The competition's hotting up in the race to dominate mobile. BlackBerry has the numbers, Apple the caché, and Microsoft has Windows- with all the familiarity that entails.

The odd one out in this dance is Google Android. More open than the rest, Android can be whatever phone manufacturers want it to be. For consumers and app developers alike, inexpensive Android makes up for a lack of polish with features and adaptability. If you want a smartphone that can do more for less, Android is it.

In the UK BlackBerry remains the number one smartphone brand. In the US, ComScore cites Apple as number one mobile maker. BlackBerry benefits from the millions who use a phone for work, and has appealed to the teen market with slick marketing and IM functionality (teenagers love free messages).

According to ComScore, Apple's US number one status owes a lot to a massive market base of iPods. Impressive, but no more relevant to the future of mobile than, say, satnav sales.

All the while Android snatches up more of the smartphone market every month.

In the tablet world, Apple is in front. But an army of Android tablets is forming. Samsung's new line of superthin Galaxy Tabs is on the way, the Motorola Xoom is here. High-end options are arriving each month.

The iPad isn't going to struggle, but over the next couple of years it's going to have some serious, widespread competition. From Android.

Regardless of what platform you prefer, this competition is great news. Android's success forces Apple to step up its game and push out new features. Apple's success forces Google and the Android manufacturers to come up with innovative ways to differentiate their devices and offer value for consumers.

Who will win the race for mobile dominance? If you're in the market for a mobile phone, you will.

JR Raphael contributed to this story

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