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The Apple iPhone's Top 5 Challengers

Stocks in this article: AAPL GOOG VZ T RIMM MSFT S

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- In three years, there hasn't been a phone bold enough or incredible enough to knock Apple's (AAPL) iPhone from its perch as the design leader in smartphones.

But there certainly have been a few challengers.

The Google (GOOG) Android-powered Motorola (MOT) Droid has been one of the biggest threats -- and a solid seller -- but it hasn't quite matched the iPhone's star status. The Palm (PALM) Pre arrived last year full of hope and promise. But all it took was a little Verizon snub to send Palm down the path to oblivion.

Apple's iPhone is strong, but it might not be invincible. If the iPhone has one key vulnerability, it's style. The iPhone is going into its fourth year with basically the same look and feel it had when it arrived in 2007. It's like having your DVR still set to record Survivor or styling your hair in that forward-jutting Rihanna 2007 bob. By fashion standards, the Apple iPhone design is dated. By gadget yardsticks, it's ancient.

A major iPhone makeover is expected in 2011. The new -- possibly 4G, possibly Verizon (VZ) -- iPhone, will include an 8-megapixel camera from Sony (SNE), TheStreet has learned. For now, however, the iPhone is a big fat target for rivals.

Here is the next round of up-and-coming phones due out this year that will attempt to outsmart the iPhone.

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