With 2010 upon us, it seems like we know what to expect from most players in the smartphone market – new releases, smarter phones, better and lighter technology. Apple will iterate on the iPhone to compete with the bleeding edge Android phones (and possibly give us a 3G enabled tablet in the process), we’ll see more Android phones than ever come out, including the release of Google’s ‘Nexus one’ and Microsoft is due to roll out Windows Mobile 7 at some point. And of course there is a predicted resurgence for Palm and Nokia with the next versions of their phones and technology. None of us know where the next generation of phones will lead and we would all like to be able to predict the future. In a recent article, thestreet.com attempts to do just that, with some interesting outcomes:- Smartphone wars. Research In Motion (RIMM) became the subject of an intense bidding war, which resulted in the sale of the smartphone leader to former "dumbphone" leader Nokia (NOK). Nokia borrowed a stunning $40 billion to complete the transaction, exploiting the dollar's weakness against its home currency, the euro, to outbid Microsoft (MSFT), which attempted to utilize only its cash hoard. The deal is expected to vault Nokia back into a leadership position in the mobile phone business, as the battleground is now set between Apple's (AAPL) iPhone and Nokia's BlackBerry. Industry analysts initially panned Microsoft's "consolation prize," its acquisition of the assets of Palm (PALM) out of bankruptcy, but are now intrigued since Microsoft successfully completed its tender offer for all outstanding shares of Clearwire (CLWR). Meanwhile, Motorola (MOT) merged with Garmin (GRMN) as they continued to roll out their strategy of hardware differentiation underneath the Android OS. Stock analysts are still questioning Motorola's surprise tender offer for the shares of Iridium (IRDM). Obviously this is speculative stuff, but the smartphone game does have way too many players.  2010 could be the year of final victory through attrition/consolidation. ….food for thought.