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Wednesday, December 09, 2009, 06:50 am PT (09:50 am ET)

Time ranks Motorola Droid above Apple iPhone for 2009

Time magazine has named the Motorola Droid the No. 1 gadget of 2009, besting the iPhone 3GS and calling the handset the first to truly challenge Apple's groundbreaking smartphone.

Time said that the Droid is the best hardware companion to Google's Android mobile operating system yet, earning the phone its top honors for 2009.

"The Droid is a hefty beast, a metal behemoth without the gloss and finish of the iPhone, but you don't miss it," the magazine said. "The Droid's touchscreen is phenomenally sharp and vivid, it has an actual physical (not great, but good enough) keyboard, and best of all, the Droid is on Verizon's best-of-breed 3G network. It's Android's first credible challenge to the iPhone."

Apple's iPhone still made the list, and earned praise. But the device came in fourth, behind the Barnes & Noble Nook e-reader, and the Dyson Air Multiplier.

"Take the iPhone. Make it faster. There, you're done," the story said. "Yes, the 3GS has a better camera — with video. And it has a compass and voice control. Those are all improvements over the original. But the main point of, and the best thing about, the new iPhone is speed. It has more of it. Period."

Hype surrounding the Droid continues to linger more than a month after the device first debuted. This despite the fact that the handset managed to sell 100,000 units in its first weekend, compared with over a million units of the iPhone 3GS sold in its first three days at retail.

While comparisons between the Droid and iPhone are inevitable regardless, Motorola has encouraged them with a series of advertisements geared towards men. One recent ad suggested the iPhone is feminine, comparing it to a "tiara-wearing digitally clueless beauty pageant queen." Motorola then portrays its Droid as a fast, efficient device that isn't worried about looks.

One recent study found that buzz surrounding the Droid had helped to propel the brand perception of Motorola beyond that of Apple for men ages 18 and up.

The rest of Time's top 10 gadgets list for 2009, following the iPhone 3GS, in order, is: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV, Dell Adamo XPS, FinePix Real 3D W1, Casio G-Shock GW7900B-1, Beats Solo by Dr. Dre, and Panasonic G10 Series Plasma HDTVs.