But how do you get ahead? How do you break the stranglehold that Apple, Google and Samsung have created? The first two have created deep ecosystems that continue to lure in more and more consumers while refusing to let them out.
Apple has arguably the deepest ecosystem, with top-of-the-line hardware and software that continues to win over consumers old and new. Google has been able to piggyback off of other hardware companies with its Android operating system, but most consumers are widely familiar with its other services, such as Maps, Drive, Gmail and search.
With the Moto X, Google is starting to build out the hardware side of things and could close in on Samsung. Maybe it will overtake Apple and Samsung in smartphone sales, but it's not likely. However, it certainly just made the mountain much steeper for Microsoft, Nokia and BlackBerry.
-- Written by Bret Kenwell in Petoskey, Mich. .At the time of publication the author is long AAPL. Follow @BretKenwell This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.