The 10 Coolest Smartphones Of 2010, So Far9:00 AM EST Fri. Jul. 02, 2010
Apple, Android or other? Apple's iPhone 4 broke sales records for Apple, but the legion of Android-powered devices -- including the mighty Motorola Droid X and the hotshot HTC EVO 4G -- is ever-growing and helping Google gain on Apple and iPhone as a heavyweight smartphone power.
The Apple vs. Google rivalry is just one of the major story lines in an action-packed year for smartphone releases so far. Here's a look at 10 of the coolest smartphones to be released in the first six months of 2010.
Price: $199.99 with two-year contract
Released: June 4
By all accounts, it's a powerhouse, and spec-for-spec, the HTC EVO 4G, carried by Sprint, might be the most advanced smartphone currently available. It includes a 4.3-inch, 480 x 800-pixel display, a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, an 8-megapixel camera capable of 720p HD video capture, HDMI output, version 2.1 (and soon, 2.2) of Android with HTC Sense and, the kicker, 4G integrated wireless, which makes the EVO 4G the first 4G smartphone available to consumers in the U.S.
Price: $199.99 after two-year contract and rebate
Released: Coming July 15
Motorola in 2009 threw its smartphone loyalty behind Android, and last fall, with the first Motorola Droid, made good on a promise to muscle back into the limelight. Now comes Droid X, a power-packed upgrade to the expanding Droid lineup, which includes a 4.3-inch display, video capture for 720p video, HDMI output, 1GHz processor, 8 GB of memory, 16-GB microSD card, 8-megapixel camera, no physical keyboard, Swype touch-screen typing software, version 2.1 of Android (with 2.2 on the way later this summer), 3G Mobile Hotspot capability, and a range of content options thanks to strengthened partnerships with Skype Mobile, Blockbuster, Redzone and other providers.
Price: $199.99 (16-GB edition)
Released: June 24
Does Apple's new iPhone really need an introduction, after weeks -- no, months -- of breathless fanfare? According to Apple, iPhone 4 sales exceeded 1.7 million in the phone's first three days on sale, breaking Apple records and becoming the most successful product launch in company history. Struggles abounded -- preorder and launch difficulties from AT&T -- but they hardly derailed Apple's momentum. Oh, and it's a pretty nifty phone, too: 9.3 mm (and 24 percent thinner than the most recent iPhone 3GS), ARM-based A4 processor (same as iPad's), a realtime video chatting application called FaceTime, a 5-megapixel camera with 720p HD video capture capability, a second, front-facing camera, and a 3.5-inch, 960 x 460 display.
Carriers: Verizon and AT&T
Price: $149.99 with two-year contract
Released: Jan. 25
Try as it did, Palm couldn't work up a head of steam for its initial Pre and Pixi phones, released in mid-2009 on Sprint and, while greeted with loving reviews, hardly the type of sales momentum Palm needed to muscle up next to Apple, Motorola and Research In Motion. Who knows what happens to Palm next now that it's being acquired by HP, but know this: the Palm Pre Plus, which was the updated version of the Palm Pre that Palm released for Verizon and AT&T earlier this year (with twice the internal memory as the first Pre), is quite a phone. Its specs aren't a cut above -- 3.1-inch display, 480 x 320 resolution, 3-megapixel camera, etc. -- but its champions have talked up its ease-of-use, especially for the phone's notification system and the way in which the Pre Plus turns into a Wi-Fi hot spot.
Price: $199.99 with two-year contract and rebate
Released: April 29
So excitable were the reviews for HTC's Droid Incredible that it's tough to believe it might not even be the hottest Droid phone available anymore. This hot number has a 3.7-inch 480 x 800 WVGA AMOLED display, an 8-megapixel camera, version 2.1 of Android with HTC Sense, a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 8 GB of internal memory and a unique form factor with a soft outside shell. It was Verizon's first phone to include the Snapdragon, and also Verizon's first with an 8-megapixel camera.
Carriers: Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular
Price: $199 (T-Mobile version)
Released: Coming July 21 (T-Mobile version)
Samsung is pulling out all the stops to make sure its Galaxy S line of smartphones gets maximum exposure and, as such, has made versions of the Galaxy S phone available to all four major U.S. carriers, plus U.S. Cellular. Common to each version of the phone is Google Android 2.1 (with 2.2 upgrade expected later this year), a 4-inch AMOLED display, a 1GHz processor, 5-megapixel camera, 2 GB of storage, and enablement for Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi.
So far, only the T-Mobile version -- which will be called Samsung Vibrant -- has a confirmed price and release date, and beyond the core features has a 2-GB microSD card that includes preloaded movies and games. The other versions are called Samsung Captivate (AT&T), Samsung Epic 4G (Sprint, adding a slide-out keyboard and front-facing camera), Samsung Galaxy S (U.S. Cellular) and Samsung Fascinate (Verizon).
(Release specifics to be determined)
Down but not exactly out: Nokia is losing share to competitors, but it's still the No. 1 handset maker in the world, despite having yet to make major inroads into North America.
Its N8, which it touts as the world's first smartphone to provide 5-band 3G support, includes a 3.5-inch, 640 x 360-pixel display, 720p video capture capability, a whopper 12-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics and a 680MHz processor. It's also the first Nokia phone to run Symbian3 OS, and is said to be headed for U.S. shores by the end of the year.
Released: Jan. 5
The Nexus One is manufactured by HTC, but it's Google's proprietary phone, and its sales shortcomings -- Google recently decided to stop selling Nexus One through its online Web retail store -- shouldn't overshadow its technical triumphs. Debuted in January, Nexus One includes a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, a 5-megapixel camera, a dual mic for noise suppression and other high-flying specs common to the most advanced Android phones available. As a bonus, Nexus One is the first Android phone to receive an over-the-air upgrade to Android 2.2, which Google began pushing out June 28.
Price: $199.99 with two-year contract
Released: March 24
What's that, you say? Yes, it's a Windows Mobile 6.5 device -- and a darn good one. HTC first confirmed plans for the big-screen HD2 phone in November 2009, and it saw its release on these shores -- after already shipping in Europe on Taiwan -- in late March.
It has a 4.3-inch touch screen but is only 1 mm thick, and is the first Windows Mobile phone to use HTC Sense. It also has a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, a 5-megapixel camera, GPS, 448 MB of RAM, and support for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1, along with preloaded content that includes Blockbuster on-demand and six months of free Gogo inflight wireless in the continental U.S.
Price: $129.99 with two-year contract and rebate
Released: June 20
As speculation mounts that AT&T is close to losing its exclusivity contract for iPhone, the carrier has wasted no time expanding onto other platforms. One of its most promising non-iPhone offerings is the pint-size HTC Aria, which is AT&T's second Google Android device after the Motorola Backflip. It runs Android 2.1 and includes HTC Sense, a 5-megapixel camera, a 3.2-inch HVGA touch-screen display with optical joystick, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and a digital compass.