The Six Best Smartphones of 2009

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Smartphone makers upped the ante this year with sleeker designs, better touch screens and new applications. Consumers, chanting "I want one too," responded with open wallets.

According to Gartner ( IT), smartphones were the fastest-growing segment of this year's mobile phone market, with sales rising from more than 318 million units in the fourth quarter of 2008 to 411 million last quarter.

The struggle for smartphone dominance escalated just as rapidly, as Nokia ( NOK) and its Symbian OS phones watched their market dominance wither. Nokia's share plunged from 47% at the end of last year to 39% last quarter. Meanwhile, Research In Motion's ( RIMM) BlackBerry products held 20% of the market all year, but heard Apple's ( AAPL) footsteps as the iPhone's share went from 11% to 17%.

It hasn't been a three-horse race. With RIM, Apple, Google ( GOOG), Motorola ( MOT) and Palm ( PALM) seeing huge gains from their smartphone businesses, there were enough riches to go around.

Here are the top six smartphones of this year.

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