Debuting at CES 2009, the Palm Pre breathed new life into a company struggling to defend its relevance in the smartphone space. More than that though, the Pre and Palm WebOS was a game changer in the way that it handled contact management and multitasking. Hopefully, we'll see more innovation like this from Palm in 2010.
While it might not win the award for sexiest handset of the year, the Motorola Droid certainly earns its place as a top-10 smartphone of 2009. From its brilliant touch screen to its fast performance to the enhanced features of Android 2.0, the Moto Droid is hands-down the king of Android devices--well, for now anyway.
It isn't always easy to follow in the footsteps of a successful, older sibling, but the RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 has managed to do just that. With a sleeker design and performance enhancements, the Bold 9700 steps out of the shadow of its bigger (literally) brother and stands as one of the most powerful messaging smartphones on the market today.
The Apple iPhone 3GS wasn't quite the upgrade we were looking for, given that the hardware was nearly identical and there were features that still eluded us. However, the smartphone did bring better battery life and faster performance and despite the love-hate relationship some have with Apple, we can't deny that the iPhone remains one of the best smartphones for multimedia, Web browsing, and ease of use.
Though this version of the HTC Hero was never released in the U.S. (unless you bought it unlocked), it's the model that birthed the Sprint HTC Hero and the HTC Droid Eris for Verizon Wireless. Reskinned with the HTC Sense user experience, the Hero/Droid Eris provided users with endless customization options. In addition, its sleek design and Sprint's and Verizon's affordable pricing really helped to bring Android into the mainstream.
The Samsung Omnia II was one of the most anticipated smartphones of 2009 and though it took its sweet time to come to market, it has earned a spot in our hearts, distinguishing itself from the competition with excellent multimedia capabilities. Equipped with a 5-megapixel camera that takes excellent pictures, an AMOLED display that's great for viewing photos and videos, and a robust media player, the Omnia II will surely keep you entertained.
The HTC Touch Pro2 is a beast, yes, but it offers a long laundry list of features, including some standouts, such as an extra-large touch screen, excellent keyboard, and enhanced phone capabilities, that make it our top pick of the year for business users and road warriors.
The Nokia N900 certainly isn't for everybody. The unintuitive user interface and some of its current limitations make it a device for early adopters and techies only. That said, we found a lot to like about the Maemo-based smartphone--awesome mobile Web browser and multitasking capabilities--and think there's a lot of potential in the platform. We look forward to seeing what Nokia will have in store for 2010.
By now, the T-Mobile MyTouch 3G might seem like old news but at the time, the only other Android phone on the market was the clunky T-Mobile G1. The MyTouch 3G showed that Android devices could also be sleek and attractive, and also gave the smartphone a boost in the features and performance department.
We'd be lying if we said we weren't bothered by the lack of 3G, but the pros of the RIM BlackBerry Curve 8900 far outweigh the cons. A solid update to the Curve series, the 8900 delivers a better design, improved features, and faster performance than its predecessor and offers both consumers and mobile professionals a solid messaging smartphone.