The iPhone's Race for Wider US Distribution

The iPhone is the most popular individual handset (as opposed to handset line like BlackBerry) in the US according to Nielsen. Outside the US the device is no longer exclusive to any single carrier (except in China I believe). But in the US it remains exclusively on the AT&T network for the at least immediate future. That exclusivity now represents a drag on sales and provides an opening for Android to become "good enough" to blunt the iPhone's future in the US market.

RIM is in something of a separate category because of its enterprise legacy and installed base. 

Google has developed a phone that equals and perhaps exceeds the iPhone in many if not most hardware specs. That and other Android devices may be sufficient for most people if the iPhone doesn't become available to other US carriers next year. The Droid device, backed by a massive Verizon marketing campaign has seen some success vs. the iPhone in terms of brand perception among males.  

Overall smartphones across the spectrum will continue to gain, driven by price competition, cultural visibility and cachet and by general competition that is making these devices more and more consumer friendly and powerful. 

The iPhone has the potential to become the dominant smartphone and mobile computing platform on a global basis. The US market and non-AT&T exclusivity are keys to that momentum. But the unlocking needs to happen next year or the opportunity will potentially be lost.