Gift Guide 2009: Smartphones

Motorola DROID, one of Gadget.com's recommended smartphone gifts for the holidays

The holidays are coming, from Thanksgiving and Black Friday, to Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza.  If you are contemplating on sending your dear friends and family a brand new smartphone for the coming days of gift giving, finding the right phone would take a lot of research.  Good thing we at Gadget.com compiled the best deals you could get when it comes to smartphones.

Motorola DROID – Powered by Google’s Android platform, the Motorola DROID (pictured above) is the first smartphone to feature Google Maps Navigation, a free voice-activated, turn-by-turn GPS system.  It offers 3G-speed Web access with multi-window browser, a vast application store, a sliding QWERTY keyboard, and a 5-megapixel camera with dual LED flash.  The Motorola DROID costs US$199.99 with a two-year contract on Verizon Wireless.

Image source:  Verizon Wireless

HTC Hero – One of the smartest phones to become available in 2009, the HTC Hero exclusive Sense technology lets users arrange its home screen to virtually limitless possibilities.  They can also easily switch in between modes, even changing the tools appearing on the home screen as a result.  The integration of its phone book to your contact’s social networks like Facebook and Twitter is, in our opinion at least, the Hero’s biggest selling point.  Navigation can be done either through its 3.2-inch touch screen or its trackball.  The HTC Hero is available in the United States on Sprint for $179.99 with a two-year contract and in the United Kingdom in a "pay as you go" monthly plan system.

Apple iPhone 3GS – Apple’s 2009 update on the ever-popular iPhone comes with a much-improved camera with video recording and editing capability.  Although the iPhone 3GS still does not multitask, third-party apps can now employ a "push notification system," which alerts users of an instant update without having to leave the current application.  The Apple iPhone 3GS 16GB edition is available on AT&T for $199 with a two-year contract.

HTC myTouch 3G – T-Mobile’s myTouch 3G excels in multitasking by allowing pop-ups on your status bar that lets users informed about the latest instant messages, event alarms, and app updates.  If they want to highlight the alert, simply tap the pop-up and the phone automatically displays the update.  The Android-powered HTC myTouch 3G is available on T-Mobile for only $149.99.

Palm Pre – Long hailed as "The iPhone Killer," Palm Pre‘s strength lies on its multitasking feature, as it can keep many applications open at the same time.  This touch screen phone also comes with a sliding keyboard, catering those who find typing on a touch screen too tedious.  Sprint offers the Palm Pre for only $149.99 after rebate, which also comes with a two-year contract.

Palm Pixi – If you like the Palm Pre but find it too expensive, the Palm Pixi is a better alternative.  This lightweight handset supports GPS, dual-band CDMA2000, and 3G EVDO Rev A data networking.  It also comes with Palm’s synchronization functions, much like the Pre.  The Palm Pixi can be bought from Sprint Network for only $99.99 after rebates and comes with a two-year contract as well.

BlackBerry Tour 9630 – BlackBerry lovers are not left behind, as the Tour 9630 comes as the fastest 3G phone under their belt.  It enables video calls, surf the Web, stream videos, download music, and so much more at 3G.  Its world-roaming capabilities let users call and send text messages to almost anywhere in the world.  The BlackBerry Tour 9630 is available on both Verizon Wireless and Sprint.

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