10 Smartphones That Are Making the Biggest Impact in 2010

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10 Smartphones That Are Making the Biggest Impact in 2010

by Don Reisinger

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HTC Droid Incredible

The HTC Droid Incredible is arguably the best Android-based phone to hit store shelves in 2010. The device features an 8-megapixel camera; the ability to quickly share items with Facebook, Flickr and other services; and access to Google's Android Market. It boasts 8GB of storage, GPS functionality and a touch-capable 3.7-inch display. And all the while, it has unleashed appealing features that have helped Android outpace the iPhone and helped HTC become a major force in today's mobile market. The Droid Incredible is available on Verizon Wireless' network for $200 with a contract.

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T-Mobile MyTouch 3G Slide

T-Mobile's MyTouch 3G Slide isn't the most capable product to be released in 2010, but it certainly fits the bill for entertainment. The device, which boasts a 3.4-inch display and a slide-out physical keyboard, runs Android OS. It also offers access to Google's Android Market. Since the MyTouch 3G Slide hasn't been released yet, it's tough to say how the market will react. But it could usher in a new method of typing. The device features a "Swype" touch keyboard, so, rather than click each key individually, consumers can simply slide their finger over the screen from one key to another to type out the word they want. It's a neat new technology that could be popularized by the device. It goes on sale June 2.

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BlackBerry Bold 9650

RIM's BlackBerry Bold smartphone has been available since 2009. But what it lacks in youth, it makes up for in outstanding corporate features. The device eschews the allure of a touch screen, and instead offers the familiar QWERTY physical keyboard. It boasts 3G connectivity, GPS and WiFi. Plus, users can use the device as a tethered modem. And that's where RIM's Bold stands out. It might not be the flashiest phone on the market, but it has arguably made the biggest impact on corporate users. So far, Apple's iPhone and Google's Android OS haven't appealed to the corporate world. Only RIM's BlackBerry has achieved that.

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Palm Pre Plus

The Palm Pre Plus might not be the obvious candidate to be included in a roundup of the most important smartphones of 2010, but it shouldn't be underestimated. The Palm Pre Plus features Palm's WebOS platform. And although it's far behind iPhone OS and Android OS, the software caught its stride in the Pre Plus. So much, in fact, that it was one of the main reasons why HP decided to acquire Palm for $1.2 billion. Plus, it's available at Verizon Wireless for just $49.99 after entering into a two-year contract and applying rebates. It's a fine choice for smartphone seekers on a budget.

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HTC's HD2 could be the best Windows Mobile device on the market. And that's precisely why it made it into this roundup. The device, which boasts a 4.3-inch display, runs Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6.5. And although the company's mobile operating system will be replaced in the coming months, HTC's HD2 shows that with the right strategy and a little design help thrown in, Windows Mobile really can work in today's market. That said, the device runs on T-Mobile's network, so the majority of customers just aren't realizing that. Regardless, the device is worth considering for those who don't mind spending $200 for a smartphone.

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BlackBerry Tour

RIM's BlackBerry Tour is the company's response to the Bold on AT&T's network. The Tour is available to Verizon Wireless customers and boasts many of the same features as the Bold. It offers RIM's physical keyboard, access to Verizon's 3G network and more. It also doubles as a tethering modem for those who want to use the smartphone to connect to the Web on a laptop. Like the Bold, it is a go-to enterprise device. It's available for just $100 with a new contract at Verizon.

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HTC Evo 4G

The Evo 4G hasn't hit store shelves yet—it's scheduled to be released on June 4—but it could have a major impact on the future of the smartphone business. The device, which is available only on Sprint, will run on the company's 4G network. It also connects to wireless networks in 3G when 4G connectivity isn't available. Admittedly, the device likely won't sell well compared with some of the other devices on the market. But if it sells as well as Sprint and HTC hope, it could spur a significant uptick in 4G availability across the United States on all networks. The HTC Evo 4G, which will go on sale for $200, is one to watch.

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LG Expo

The LG Expo is a glimpse into what the future of smartphones might be like. The device runs Windows Mobile 6.5, which isn't necessarily the most exciting thing. But what it lacks in its operating system, it makes up for with a projector. The device allows users to project images on a screen with up to 66-inch diagonal measurement. That said, it will only work if a user buys an integrated Pico projector with it. Once they do, the device is capable of projecting "presentations, Web pages, videos and photos." Look for this functionality in more phones going forward.

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Google Nexus One

Google's Nexus One is included in this roundup more for what it didn't do right than what it did correctly. When Google announced the device, it had grand plans. Not only would it offer functionality that would best other Android-based phones on the market, but it would also be offered online. The company hoped to cut out the middleman—carriers—and sell the phone directly to consumers. It was a risk, and it didn't pay off. The Nexus One isn't the success that Google thought it would be. But it has taught the rest of the market what not to do with a smartphone. And that should be acknowledged.

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Apple iPhone

Apple's iPhone, a perennial favorite, undoubtedly provides the biggest impact on the smartphone market. The device has been the standard by which all other devices since its launch have been compared. In most cases, the other smartphones fall short. Apple's iPhone has revolutionized the mobile space and ensured that going forward, innovation will drive sales. As Apple prepares to launch the iPhone 4G, another solid year will almost undoubtedly await the hardware giant.

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