Next update scheduled for mid-February, right after MWC 2011.

Whether you are focused on business and productivity or are looking for something designed with multimedia and entertainment in mind, there are so many new smartphones getting released week in and week out that it's hard to keep track of what's hot anymore.

From BlackBerry phones that emphasize push connectivity and QWERTY keyboards, to the ever popular iPhone and the latest breed of Android-powered devices that have flooded the market as of late, with its sheer number of available apps that can greatly extend the phones' functionality.

Since hardware exclusivity agreements are all too common these days, it's possible the phone you want won't be available on the network you're on. Nevertheless, we've compiled a list with some of the best options currently out there and a quick glance of what's coming soon (Windows Phone, anyone?). Our selection covers every major U.S. carrier and lists devices according to their release date. If your favorite smartphone didn't make the list and you feel it's being underappreciated, feel free to share it in the comments!


Nokia N8
Available since: October 2010 in the U.S. and Europe

The N8 is Nokia's latest attempt to retain its dominant position in the increasingly competitive smartphone market. This candybar-style, multi-touch screen phone recently begun shipping in Europe and is due to debut by the end of October in the U.S. packing some impressive gadgetry. Most notably the N8 features a 12-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics and Xenon flash, 720p HD video recording, movie editing software, and Dolby surround sound. It'll come in a svelte anodized aluminum body featuring a 3.5-inch AMOLED screen with a 640 x 360 pixel resolution, 16GB of internal storage, and support for every single 3G band on the planet.

This will be Nokia's first smartphone to run on the Symbian^3 operating system and their last N-series phone based on this platform. Going forward, N-series smartphones will be based on MeeGo, the Linux-based lovechild of Nokia's Maemo and Intel's Moblin. Unfortunately for the N8, it's not very appealing to invest your money in a device that sports a dying OS, but perhaps it's high-end hardware and multimedia oriented features will be enough to keep you interested.

Additional views:

Carrier: Any Talk Time: 5.8 hours
Price: $549 without contract Standby Time: 17 days
Manufacturer: Nokia Weight: 4.8 ounces
Platform: Symbian^3 Wireless: 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0
Network: quad-band GSM, penta-band WCDMA Storage: 16GB built-in, 32GB supported via microSD


HTC / T-Mobile G2
Available: October 2010 in the U.S.

It’s been a long time coming but the T-Mobile G2 has officially arrived. This successor to the G1 is thinner than the original model, while adding more memory and a 3.5mm audio jack. The device offers a full, slide-out QWERTY keyboard and 800 MHz Qualcomm MSM7320 processor. It also upgrades to a 5-megapixel camera, 3.7-inch display, Android 2.2, 4GB of internal memory, and is among the first phones to support HSPA+ 14.4 3G data services. The phone is available as the HTC Desire Z in European and Asian markets. The main difference between them is that the G2 will run the stock Android 2.2 interface instead of HTC's customised Sense interface.

Additional views:

Carrier: T-Mobile Talk Time: Up to 6.5 hours
Price: $200 with two-year contract Standby Time: Up to 17.5 days
Manufacturer: HTC Weight: 6.5 ounces
Platform: Android 2.2 "Froyo" Wireless: 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR
Network: GSM, HSPA 14.4 Storage: 4GB on-board; 8GB card included, 32GB supported via microSD


Motorola Droid 2
Available since: August 2010 in the U.S.

The original Droid from Motorola helped bring the Android platform to stardom more than a year ago. Although its successor probably won’t have the same impact now that a myriad of other Android powered smartphones have come to market, it’s good to see Motorola has maintained many of the aspects that made its older sibling popular while bringing some refinements to the table. The Droid 2 sports a faster processor, mobile Wi-Fi hotspot feature, Adobe Flash, 5-megapixel auto-focus camera with video capture, and wireless video output via DLNA.

Other features include a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, large touch screen, GPS navigation with full turn-by-turn directions, compass, 3.5mm audio jack, up to 40 GB of memory, and dual-mic noise reduction. A limited edition version of the device featuring Star Wars character R2-D2 with exclusive apps and content is also available from Verizon.

Additional views:

Carrier: Verizon Talk Time: Up to 9.6 hours
Price: $200 with two-year contract Standby Time: Up to 13.1 days
Manufacturer: Motorola Weight: 6 ounces
Platform: Android 2.2 "Froyo" Wireless: 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR
Network: CDMA, EV-DO Rev. A Storage: 8GB on-board, 32GB supported via microSD


HTC Desire
Available since: August 2010 in the U.S.

The HTC Desire bears a strong resemblance to the Nexus One – they pack the same 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 1,400mAh battery, 3.7-inch 800 x 480 AMOLED screen, 5-megapixel autofocus camera and 512MB of ROM, while externally they have very similar design and even weight. As for differences, the Desire packs 64MB more RAM than the Nexus One and replaces the latter’s touch-sensitive keys with real physical buttons and a clickable optical trackpad.

Other features of this Android smartphone include Wi-Fi, GPS, and memory card slot. The phone was actually announced back in February, but it didn't debut in the U.S. market until late August. It may not be the latest from HTC, but its hardware is far from obsolete, and build quality is great as usual.

Additional views:

Carrier: U.S. Cellular Talk Time: Up to 5 hours
Price: $200 with two-year contract Standby Time: Up to 10.6 days
Manufacturer: HTC Weight: 4.8 ounces
Platform: Android 2.1 "Eclair" Wireless: 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR
Network: CDMA, EV-DO Rev. A Storage: 8GB card included, 32GB supported via microSD


Samsung Galaxy S
Available since: June - September 2010 in the U.S.

Samsung's hot new Android handset is available on all major U.S. carriers sporting a different name and set of features, but enough similarities under the hood to make the Galaxy S heritage clear. Verizon's version is called Samsung Fascinate. On AT&T's network it's the Captivate, while T-Mobile and Sprint have christened the Samsung Galaxy S as Vibrant and Epic 4G, respectively.

They may not share identical exteriors but they all boast a high-end feature set that includes a 4-inch AMOLED touch screen display, 1Ghz Cortex A8 Hummingbird processor, 5-megapixel camera with LED flash and 720p video capture, six-axis sensor for gaming, up to 16GB of internal storage, Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi.

Among them, Sprint's version stands out the most with a few extra surprises. Namely, the phone is able to hop on the carrier's WiMAX network for faster download speeds (where available), and adds a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and a front-facing camera. The Epic 4G is Sprint's second WiMAX phone and a great alternative to the HTC EVO 4G.

Additional views:

Carrier: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint Talk Time: Up to 6.5 hours
Price: $199 with two-year contract ($249 for Epic 4G) Standby Time: Up to 18 days
Manufacturer: Samsung Weight: 4.2 - 5.6 ounces
Platform: Android 2.1 Wireless: 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR
Network: GSM, HSPA 7.2 Storage: Up to 16GB on-board