Top 10 Smartphone Advances Of 2009 - InformationWeek
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02:49 PM

Top 10 Smartphone Advances Of 2009

As smartphones further cemented their place in the enterprise, Apple, Motorola, Google Android, and RIM Blackberry vied for the spotlight.

The Cliq is Motorola's first Android smartphone.
(click for image gallery)

The last 12 months have been an exciting time for smartphone fans, as major players have seemingly come back from the dead, applications played a bigger role than ever, and mobile computing continued to change. This list includes 10 of the biggest stories in the smartphone space, in no particular order.

1. Motorola Mounts A Comeback

Motorola's cell phone division has been doing so poorly over the last few years that the company planned to spin off the division into an independent company. While those plans were put on hold because of the global economic recession, Motorola still needed to find a solid direction for its handset division, as well as achieve a few hit devices.

Co-CEO Sanjay Jha appears to have found that direction, and the company is focusing on smartphones powered by the Google-backed Android operating system. Motorola introduced two Android-powered devices in 2009, and it plans to release multiple smartphones in 2010 with the Linux-based OS.

Christy Wyatt, Motorola's VP of software platforms, said the decision to hone in on Android will enable it to deliver handsets that offer great end-user experiences. Calling Android a "vehicle for innovation," Wyatt said Motorola wants to deeply customize its handsets in order to stand out from the crowd.

The Motorola Cliq showed off this customization with the MotoBlur service, which is an embedded service that aggregates a user's photos, contacts, and other information from places like Facebook, corporate e-mail accounts, Twitter, and other online sources.

But Motorola's biggest moment of 2009 came with the introduction of the Droid for Verizon Wireless. The handset is probably Motorola's most visually appealing device since the popular Razr, and it is the first smartphone to feature Android 2.0. The Droid has been a hit with consumers and, thanks to a strong multimedia campaign by Verizon Wireless, it is expected to sell more than a million units by the end of the year. While the Droid and the Cliq aren't enough to completely turn around the struggling handset division, these devices lay a solid foundation for the company that essentially invented the cell phone.

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