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The fiercest technology battle of 2008 didn't take place between the usual rivals, IBM, HP, and Dell. Instead, the most watched and anticipated action was between smartphone contenders, Apple, Research in Motion, and believe it or not, Google.


2008 will go down as the year smartphones captured the imagination and pocket books of the ordinary consumer. From Apple's runaway hit, the iPhone, through to the BlackBerry Storm, RIM's first entry into the touch screen phone arena, consumers and business users had plenty of technology eye-candy to choose from.


Google also made a big splash onto the scene by partnering with T-Mobile and cell phone manufacturer HTC to introduce the first phone built on its Android mobile device software platform.


So what were the top smartphones of 2008? CIOZone offers its picks just in case you were looking for Santa to slip one under the tree this Christmas.

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1. 12-04-2008 12:20
 
I just got back from the Army Science Conference in Orlando and heard quite a bit about the wonders of the iPhone from General Peter Chiarelli, Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army. Chiarelli was talking about the need to speed the development and deployment of new technologies that would offer practical benefits to soldiers in the field. At a couple of points, during his keynote talk, he pulled out his iPhone and marveled over how Apple had delivered such a revolutionary technology to the market, only to replace it with a next generation model 18 months later. He said he had to wonder why military technology couldn't move that fast. 
 
I had a chance to ask him about it later, saying that the only problem was that his information security people would no doubt denounce the iPhone as far too insecure for military applications. "Sure they would," Chiarelli said, "but shouldn't we be able to work around that?" 
 
In other words, shouldn't the military be capable of moving at the speed of industry, while still addressing concerns like security? In part, he was directing these remarks against the military technology acquisition system, which he finds too slow and cumbersome. 
 
I'd be interested in hearing whether others would agree with that assertion. Is he right to be impatient? Or is he giving too little credit to the importance of careful, systematic technology development in the realm of truly mission critical military technology?
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2. 12-04-2008 13:19
 
I would argue that Gen. Chiarelli is quite within his rights to be impatient with the speed of delivery available to him. Not that the careful, systematic delivery of mission critical military technology is not important, but there's no reason why it needs to be slow either. 
 
This is a discussion which comes up a lot at my workplace, especially given the pace at which many of us are used to being able to provide solutions. Certainly speed can mean trade-offs in cost and/or quality. An effective team can provide rapid development and deployment, and can do so with a minimal cost overhead. 
 
Perhaps the consideration shouldn't be whether the perfect tool can be deployed in the first or even second generations, but whether the core requirements can be met in the first generation so that the following generations can accelerate to deliver progressively faster and better tools. 
 
If, as an external vendor for a Fortune 100 company, I can deliver faster, more effectively and more accurately on the needs of a project than the internal team, there is something wrong.  
 
If as the technology side we're hobbled by processes which prevent failures from ineptitude, we're approaching the problem the wrong way or maybe even the wrong problem entirely.
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3. 12-04-2008 13:38
 
If you're interested in more details on the General's talk, see: http://www.gcn.com/online/vol1_no1/47675-1.html
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4. 12-04-2008 15:16
 
Thanks for posting the link David, I'm quite interested to read more.
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5. 12-04-2008 14:00
 
The Blackberry storm was a disappointment to me as I was at Verizon recently and after having spent a few minutes with the device the touch part of the technology didn't impress me as much as Apple's iphone. I ended up going with a blackberry curve instead.
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