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Apple's iPad tops Time's top 10 gadgets of 2010 list

Time magazine awarded Apple four slots on its 2010 top 10 gadgets list, naming the iPad the No. 1 gadget of 2010.

Apple briefly fell from grace last year when Time magazine awarded the Motorola Droid the status No.1 gadget of the year, calling it "Android's first credible challenge to the iPhone."

This year, however, Apple is back on top with the wildly successful iPad.

"It's not the first touchscreen tablet in the history of computing, but it's easily the most successful so far," wrote Doug Aamoth for the magazine. "With 3 million iPads sold in their first month alone and a market for interactive magazines and newspapers created almost overnight, Apple finally managed to make tablet computing cool."

According to Time, 2010 was a big year for Apple. The recently released 11-inch MacBook Air, which has been "flying off the shelves," came in third. The iPhone 4, Apple's fastest selling product ever, came in sixth. The new streaming Apple TV rounded out Apple's place on the list at No. 7.

Google also had a good year, and it's clear from the list that the search giant is giving Apple a run for its money. The Samsung Galaxy S Android smartphone took second prize. In fourth place was Google TV, specifically the Logitech Revue. Google's own Nexus One came in fifth, ahead of the iPhone 4.

To its credit, the iPhone did show up on another list: Top 10 iPhone Apps, of which Netflix was No. 1.

Times' list highlights the growing rivalry between Apple and Google. Apple has established a significant lead in the tablet market, and it's No. 1 spot on the top 10 gadgets list affirms that competitive answers to the iPad have yet to take off.

On the other hand, 2010 was the year where collective Android sales overtook those of the iPhone. Time acknowledged the growing success of Google's mobile operating system by awarding Android smartphones the No. 2 and No. 5 spots, ahead of the iPhone 4's sixth place finish.

2011 is sure to be another year of fierce competition between the two companies. Google's Andy Rubin offered a glimpse at next year's offerings this week when he showed off a prototype Android-based Motorola tablet and the just announced Nexus S Android smartphone at the D: Dive Into Mobile Conference. Meanwhile, Apple is expected to release an updated version of its iPad early next year, possibly with cameras and an SD card slot.

The Toshiba Libretto Dual-Screen Laptop, Microsoft Kinect, and Barnes & Noble Nook Color finished out the list.