Excellent point. There are many hams out there who have this one track mind that one has to win out. It's probably not going to happen that way. The market dynamics for a video recorder and a portable radio are completely different. You're just going to have to analyze what's out there and make a decision (or two). Waiting on the sidelines for one technology to somehow breakout from the others is going to be a decade or more. So, are you still going to only use a crappy analog radio for 10+ years while you wait? Yes, I did say crappy when you consider analog is a waste of bandwidth. 25 kHz and only one voice channel? The battery gets drained with that 100% duty cycle way too quick.Why does only one have to win out in the end? While it may be more convenient to have a single standard, it may be better to have multiple types since there is the bandwidth to support it. The other answer may be that none of the existing digital standards will win, but a new one (probably invented by hams) may solve the problems that the current standards have (mainly around using codecs that are owned by a company that requires licenses to use them) and be accepted by the masses.
Think of it this way. Who won the Beta/VHS wars? Basically it was the DVD which is now being replaced by blue ray disks.
I like the following in this order:
DMR - many manufacturers, price points below $200 on some Chinese radios now. Most spectrum efficient with up to 4 voice channels in 25 kHz. Battery life is good with TDMA. Drawback: it is a commercial standard that is not as friendly to tinkering, though it can be quite flexible with a C-bridge controller.
NEXEDGE- well done, and spectrum efficient just slightly less than DMR because of guard bands. I'm surprised this has not overtaken D-star already. It is a far better technology.
YAESU FUSION- Too late to the game. Well designed but their timing is awful. 5-6 years earlier and if they teamed up with someone like Alinco or Kenwood, they may have cornered the market. Not a big fan of 12.5 kHz FDMA either.
D-STAR- Lots of radios out there due to the freebie repeater deals a while back but the RX design is poor. The mechanics are only slightly better, the radios are very susceptible to RFI too. GMSK is an old and inefficient technology when compared to C4FM now. The portable and mobiles are still made by one manufacturer and are quite expensive. The only redeeming factors are that it it a large dynamically routable network, you can homebrew a repeater, the ircddB network is nice, and there is some experimentation going on with scripting to add features to the repeaters.
ANALOG 25 kHz- Days are numbered as commercial companies try and buy spectrum. Amateur radio will be narrowbanded to 12.5 kHz in our lifetime. No doubt. I'd venture to guess in the next 15 years we may not see traditional wideband repeaters on the air.
P-25 - only because it is so expensive will it never take hold that much