Comparing today's top U.S. smartphones

There's no question that today's market for smartphones is smoking hot. Vendors from across the manufacturing spectrum are rushing their products to market in an effort to cash in on U.S. consumers' seemingly bottomless appetite for high-powered wireless gadgets. Touchscreens, keyboards, accelerometers, cameras, WiFi and others hot-button specs are available from the likes of Motorola, Palm, HTC and others. And the diversity of software platforms--from webOS to Windows Mobile--only adds to the fire.

So, before the critical fourth-quarter holiday shopping season gets into full swing, it's worth taking a break and checking out the latest entrants into the smartphone battlefield. Below is a selection of the most anticipated and buzz-worthy devices announced during the past month, and how they stack up against each other.

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Touch Pro 2


Vendor Motorola HTC Palm HTC
Platform Android Android webOS Windows Mobile 6.1
Screen 3.1 inch 320x480 3.2 inch 320X480 2.63 inch 320x400  3.6 inch 480x800
Camera  5-megapixel with autofocus 5-megapixel with autofocus 2-megapixel fixed-focus 3.2-megapixel with autofocus
Android Market (approx. 10,000 apps) Android Market (approx. 10,000 apps) App Catalog (approx. 70 apps) Windows Marketplace for Mobile 
WiFi Yes - 802.11 b/g Yes  - 802.11 b/g No Yes - 802.11 b/g
Keyboard  Slide-out, 5-row Qwerty Virtual Qwerty Slide-out, 5-row Qwerty
Price Unknown $179.99 Unknown $199.99

The scoop

Motorola's first Android phone takes advantage of the company's MotoBLUR user interface. Motorola has bet its continued success on Android, and is seeking to get wide distribution for the Cliq, which will be sold overseas by Orange in the UK and France, Telefonica Spain, and American Movil in Latin America. Sprint's first Android phone is also HTC's first to sport the company's proprietary Sense UI, which allows users to put a contact's photo alongside their text messages, emails and call history in a single view. The UI also allows users to set up customizable push widgets for things like Twitter feeds, weather and email. The Pixi, Palm's second webOS device after the Pre, has been positioned as more compact and affordable device than the Pre. Palm also is emphasizing that the phone's casing can be customized, something that may appeal to a younger demographic less concerned with productivity applications.  HTC's latest Windows Mobile phone is the successor to its popular Touch Pro model. The gadget has attracted wide carrier support and features new HTC innovations such as Push Internet and Straight Talk, which allows users to set up  multi-party conference calls by accessing contact information in their email inbox.
* The Touch Pro 2 is also available from Sprint and T-Mobile for $349.99