NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The effort to bring the fastest, most satisfying user experience to smartphones has pit company against company and consumer against consumer.Today, one of the most covered wars raging in that industry is between tech goliaths Google ( GOOG) and Apple ( AAPL). Last Friday Apple's CEO Steve Jobs took to the stage to defend his newest "trendsetter," the developmentally challenged iPhone 4. Since the launch of the phone, it has faced massive criticism regarding its antenna. Technology journalists, bloggers, and consumers have taken to various media outlets to claim that its unique design has led to reception issues and even an increase in dropped calls. As I, like many others, followed the live feeds hosted by a number of tech blogs, I was reminded once again how essential smartphones have become to our everyday lives. In a relatively short period of time, the cell phone, which was once used to stay in contact with friends and family, has evolved into the smartphone. These mobile devices have moved beyond the business realm and into the general public. Equipped with an iPhone, Blackberry or Droid phone, consumers can not only make phone calls around the world, but also text, play games, watch and send movies, and keep up to speed with the fast paced world around us. In one corner of this competitive landscape is the Apple iPhone. Since its early 2007 debut, Apple's iPhone has taken the mobile market by storm and is currently hailed by many as the gold standard in the smart phone industry. Although flaws concerning the phone's most recent design have been noted, it has not stifled growth of the product's fan base. Although it has been available for less than a month, more than 3 million users have already jumped in line to purchase the fourth-generation version of the phone. In the opposite corner is Google. This search company is parent to the Android operating system, which is quickly gaining ground on Apple. Unlike Apple, which continues to rely solely on the iPhone for its smartphone dominance, Google's Android operating system can be found on phones hailing from a number of other companies around the world, including Motorola ( MOT), HTC and Samsung.
Even China, which has recently been at odds with Google over its censorship, appears to be warming up to the company's operating system. Despite not seeing eye to eye, China has incrementally sanctioned Android handhelds, which have hit the Chinese market in droves. QQQQ) attractive. Apple represents the single largest chunk of this fund, making up nearly 20% of its portfolio. On the other hand, the First Trust Dow Jones Internet Index ETF ( FDN) can be seen as the best ETF play for investors forecasting global Android dominance. Google represents close to 10% of the fund's index, making the search giant its largest holding. While determining the outcome of this heated battle using ETFs can be exciting, it can also lead to shortcomings. Both QQQQ and FDN have their own unique strengths beyond GOOG and AAPL and together can provide broad exposure to a diverse collection of top technology players. Therefore, rather than picking either FDN or QQQQ based on personal smartphone preference, investors may instead want to hold both as a general play on the technology industry. For a play more specifically focused on the growing popularity of smartphones, investors may want to check out a strong telecommunications ETF. iShares Dow Jones U.S. Telecommunications Sector Index Fund ( IYZ) is one such option. Rather than stepping into the emotionally heated iPhone/Droid showdown, this fund exposes investors to carriers and suppliers that are responsible for producing the services and infrastructure that support smartphones. Verizon ( VZ) and AT&T ( T) represent the two largest positions within IYZ's portfolio. Together, these two firms make up a quarter of its assets, the remainder of which are spread across a diverse basket of companies responsible for various aspects of the fixed line and wireless telecommunications industry. Aside from playing the wireless industry, IYZ boasts a 4% yield. Looking to the future, it is hard to determine who will reign supreme when the dust settles between Google and Apple. However, what appears certain is that tech and wireless mobile devices will only become more engrained into our everyday lives in coming years. ETF investors in it for the long haul should avoid picking sides on short term, emotion-driven stories like Apple vs. Google and instead pay close attention to broader growth of the tech and wireless sectors.
-- Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.
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