The New Smartphone War: 7 Apple and Samsung Challengers

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You might call it a lack of ambition. Or you could just call it being very pragmatic. At a recent roundtable with reporters in Tokyo, the head of Sony's mobile business professed his desire to be the No. 3 player in smartphones behind Apple and Samsung. BlackBerry's CEO said the same thing heading up to the launch of BlackBerry Z10. Breaking the Sampple duopoly is no easy task, given that IDC says the two companies account for more than 50 percent of smartphones sold worldwide.

It's not all doom and gloom. China-based Huawei's smartphone shipments are actually growing faster than Samsung, and both ZTE and Sony are growing faster than Apple. All of the above upstarts use Google's Android software, but there are plenty of promising alternatives, from Windows Phone (led by Nokia) and BlackBerry to more off-the-beaten-path platforms like Firefox OS (embraced by ZTE). So which of these contestants have the best shot at taking on the two-headed monster? Here's my take.

Editor-in-chief Mark Spoonauer directs LAPTOP’s online and print editorial content and has been covering mobile and wireless technology for over a decade. Each week Mark’s SpoonFed column provides his insights and analysis of the biggest mobile trends and news. You can also follow him on Twitter and .

Author Bio
Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief on