Question 1: Who Leads? Question 2: Who Cares?

I have to admit I am tired of reports from research companies proclaiming who is winning and losing position in the smartphone space. The latest from the vendor iSuppli, who appears to be a corporate shill for Apple, was happy to proclaim Apple the leader, let it get published in all kinds of magazines and web publications, and then redact part of the information a few days later.

The problem I have is not with the “research” itself, but the fact that the data is always published as if the individual devices matter. I contend that when you buy a device, you are only partly buying into an individual device. By the time you purchase a smartphone, you are actually buying into a platform.

So you are not buying just a Treo 750, you are actually purchasing a Windows Mobile/Pocket PC device. And you are not just buying a Pearl, you are buying a BlackBerry.

This is important because at the end of the day it isn’t about just the device — which is made up of form factor and battery life and other things specific to that device — you are also buying into software and interaction and the things that platform allows you to do.

When I buy an iPhone, I am buying into a rich media experience. And when I buy a BlackBerry, I am buying into an email and instant communication platform. When PalmPilot’s first came out, I bought a personal information manager (now I don’t know what I am buying).

The question is: what do you need every day? Which of these is most important to you? And which platform will satisfy that need most clearly?