In a win for Motorola, Google and Verizon Wireless, Time has put the Motorola Droid at the top of its 2009 "Top 10 Gadgets" list.
While a slew of smartphones running Google's Android mobile operating system have arrived in the United States in the last few months, the Droid is leading the pack.
"Everybody likes Android ... But a smartphone operating system isn't all that satisfying without an actual kick-ass smartphone wrapped around it," wrote Lev Grossman and Peter Ha for Time Dec. 8. "Now Android has one: The Droid is a hefty beast, a metal behemoth without the gloss and finish of the iPhone, but you don't miss it."
They go on to praise the Droid's crisp touch screen, its physical keyboard and Verizon's 3G network. These last two points Verizon also touted in television advertisements presenting the Droid as having everything the iPhone lacked. The Verizon ads also touted the cell phone's open, Linux-based operating system, 5-megapixel camera, ability to run simultaneous applications and option to customize the device with widgets.
Verizon launched the Droid on Nov. 5 and sold a quarter million of them the first week. To compare, AT&T sold 1.6 million iPhone 3GS units during that device's first week, and Sprint reportedly sold 300,000 Pre smartphones during the month that Palm released its "iPhone killer."
While no smartphone has yet to slay the Apple handset, critics agree that the Droid comes closest.
The New York Times' David Pogue called it a "killer phone," as well as "incredibly fast" and a "delight to use." The Wall Street Journal's Walter Mossberg, while bemoaning the Droid's heft, also applauded it as an overall success, saying, "It's the best super-smart phone Verizon offers, the best Motorola phone I've tested and the best hardware so far to run Android."
Aaron Vronko, CEO of RapidRepair, a company that disassembles devices for a better look at what's inside, offered a similar assessment. "It's probably the first really great Android phone," he told eWEEK. Vronko was particularly impressed with the "quite snappy" Qualcomm Snapdragon processor that Motorola had included.
"The Droid kind of snuck up on us," Vronko continued. "We didn't realize what a nice phone it was going to be until just a couple of weeks before it came out."
Time awarded the second spot on its gadget list to Barnes & Noble's slow-to-arrive e-reader, the Nook, while third place went to the Air Multiplier from vacuum maker Dyson.
Fourth position went to, that's right, the iPhone 3GS. "[The] main point of, and the best thing about, the new iPhone is speed," wrote Grossman and Ha, comparing it with the original. "It has more of it. Period."