The year kicked off with two major events in the technology world – CES in Las Vegas and MWC in Barcelona – playing host to the launch of numerous tablets and smartphones. And if there's anything that was made abundantly clear at the multiple stages where products were unveiled is that Android has taken the mobile world by storm.

Almost every significant device launched in the last two months or so is powered by Google's platform, which last year managed to leap past iOS in terms of total users. But there's also stuff going on elsewhere. Apple still reigns in terms of handset sales with the iPhone and the recent Verizon launch should give it a good run until the next release in its cycle – expected around June. Meanwhile, HP updated its range of webOS smartphones, and Microsoft, while not really picking up much steam, recently signed a milestone deal with Nokia that might give Windows Phone 7 a much-needed boost.

Rounding out the major players is RIM, which disappointingly didn't have much to show in the smartphone front, but we're curious to see if the sleek QNX-based OS they are cooking for the PlayBook tablet ever makes it to BlackBerry devices.

To help you navigate through the sea of new smartphones getting released week in and week out we've put together a selection with what we consider are the hottest devices out there. They are listed alongside their respective specs, price, and features from newest to oldest. Many devices listed here are not yet available but will be in a relatively short timespan. We hope this will help you narrow down your purchase, and as usual your feedback is always welcome!

  • Late Q1 and Beyond :: HP Pre 3 * LG Optimus 3D * Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc * Sony Ericsson Xperia Play * HTC 7 Pro * Samsung Galaxy S II
  • Q1 2011: Now Available :: HTC Thunderbolt * Samsung Galaxy S 4G * Motorola Atrix 4G * HTC Inspire 4G * Motorola Cliq 2 * HTC Evo Shift 4G
  • Great 2010 Smartphones :: Samsung Nexus S * Samsung Focus * T-Mobile G2 * BlackBerry Torch 9800 * Motorola Droid 2 Global * Apple iPhone 4

HP Pre 3
Available: This summer

The Pre 3 is an upgraded version of the Pre 2 featuring a 3.6-inch 480x800 display, a 1.4GHz processor, a front-facing camera, a redesigned keyboard for larger fingers, and the same sleek, yet underappreciated webOS. There will also be some synergy with HP's upcoming TouchPad which will be able to take the Pre 3's calls, while touching the two devices together will let you share URLs and other data. Availability is set for this summer but no carrier has been announced.

Additional views:

Carrier: TBA Talk Time: --
Price: TBA Standby Time: --
Manufacturer: HP Weight: 5.5 ounces
Platform: webOS 2.2 Wireless: 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
Network: -- Storage: 8GB / 16GB

LG Optimus 3D
Available: TBA

The Optimus 3D is powered by a dual-core Texas Instruments OMAP4 processor and carries 512MB of dual-channel memory. Much like the Nintendo 3DS, it won't require special glasses to view 3D images on its 4.3-inch (480 x 800) display and the South Korean electronics giant hopes to overcome the lack of content by creating its own ecosystem. The Optimus 3D will sport a dual-lens 5-megapixel rear camera to record 3D photos and videos and has HDMI 1.4 and DLNA support baked in to stream content to other 3D-capable devices. Naturally, the device will also support 2D high-definition video and LG says it will have four times more video decoders than competing designs. There's no official price point so far and availability is estimated for Q2 2011.

Additional views:

Carrier: TBA Talk Time: --
Price: TBA Standby Time: --
Manufacturer: LG Weight: 5.9 ounces
Platform: Android 2.2 Wireless: 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Network: GSM, HSPA 14.4 Storage: 8GB internal, microSD supported

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc
Available: Late Q1 - early Q2

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc is a uniquely-shaped Android 2.3 handset that crams a large 4.2-inch (480x854) touch display and an 8-megapixel camera into a very thin body. The device is powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm processor and is said to feature the a mobile version of the Bravia engine that powers the company's flat screen TVs – with Sony touting the technology as "Reality Display". The Xperia Arc will be available in most markets from late Q1 to Q2.

Additional views:

Carrier: TBA Talk Time: 7 hours
Price: TBA Standby Time: 16.7 days
Manufacturer: Sony Ericsson Weight: 4.13 ounces
Platform: Android 2.3 Wireless: 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
Network: GSM, WCDMA, HSPA 7.2 Storage: 16GB microSD card included, 32GB supported

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play
Available: March - April 2011

In portrait mode, this Android 2.3 device is your typical smartphone with a 5-megapixel camera, a 4-inch capacitive multitouch 480 x 854 screen, and social networking features. In landscape mode, the slide out keyboard reveals a digital D-pad, two analog touchpads, two shoulder buttons, and the four geometric PlayStation buttons (circle, cross, square, and triangle). The first PlayStation Certified device, as Sony Ericsson is calling it, is powered by a 1Ghz Snapdragon processor, an Adreno 205 GPU, and 512MB of RAM. Sony Ericsson has partnered with key publishers to deliver titles like EA's Need For Speed, Sims 3, Guitar Hero, Assassin's Creed, Splinter Cell, and a world-first multiplayer version of FIFA 10 for mobile.

Additional views:

Carrier: Verizon Talk Time: 6 hours
Price: TBA Standby Time: 17 days
Manufacturer: Sony Ericsson Weight: 6.2 ounces
Platform: Android 2.3 Wireless: 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1
Network: GSM, HSPA+ Storage: 8GB misroSD card included, 32GB supported

HTC 7 Pro (a.k.a HTC Arrive)
Available: March 2011

The HTC 7 Pro is one of the few handsets in the Windows Phone 7 family that sports a full QWERTY keyboard. Combined with a generous 3.6-inch display and a WVGA resolution of 480x800, the device is sure to find a sweet spot in the hearts of heavy texters. Specs include a 1GHz Snapdragon, 576MB of RAM, a 5-megapixel camera capable of shooting 720p video, and 16GB of internal storage. The device will be available from Sprint in the first two weeks of March.

Additional views:

Carrier: Sprint Talk Time: 5.5 hours
Price: $200 with two-year contract Standby Time: 17.5 days
Manufacturer: HTC Weight: 6.5 ounces
Platform: Windows Phone 7 Wireless: 802.11 Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1
Network:CDMA, EV-DO Rev. A Storage: 16GB internal

Samsung Galaxy S II
Available: February 2011 in Europe, U.S. TBA (might be Q2)

The Galaxy S II is the world's thinnest phone at 8.49mm, taking the title from the 9.2mm LG Optimus Black. The device features a 4.27-inch Super AMOLED Plus display (800x480 resolution), an 8-megapixel primary camera with 1080p video capture and a 2-megapixel camera in the front, as well as integrated NFC support on some versions. It features Bluetooth 3.0+HS and HSPA+ connectivity, as well as four new content and entertainment hubs: music, games, e-reading, and social networking. Samsung has yet to announce release date or pricing details.

Additional views:

Carrier: TBA Talk Time: --
Price: TBA Standby Time: --
Manufacturer: Samsung Weight: 4.1 ounces
Platform: Android 2.3 Wireless: 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0
Network: GSM , HSPA+ 21 Storage: 16GB/32GB