No matter how hard we praise the philosophy of openness and collaboration, Apple continues to defy the practice with stunning results. The insular company sold 8.7 million iPhones last holiday season, its App Store has more than 3 billion downloads, and it delivers more books (most are free) than games to its mobile devices. Next up: Can the iPad douse the flames of the Kindle? Top 50: No. 2
Last year the company behind the first-generation Android handset was the world's most influential phone manufacturer that nobody had ever heard of. With the debut of the Nexus One for Google, that's no longer the case. Now with a slew of Android phones hitting the market, we'll see if HTC can keep its name above the noise. Top 50: No. 31
At last year's annual International Design Excellence Awards, the company took eight prizes (including three Gold winners) to Apple's seven, with products ranging from a dual-cooking oven--capable of roasting different foods at different temps in a single space--to a turquoise Netbook that is soft shelled and edible to the eye. Its slick debut of the 12.2 megapixel DualView camera (front and back LCD screens) focuses on self-portrait fanatics and looks to be another prize winner. Top 50: No. 36
We love that Palm is using wireless electricity to power its Pre and Pixi (we told you so!). And the company's newest killer app saves mobile professionals from their multiple databases, herding contact lists, calendars, and scheduling info on disparate machines and organizing all of it. The Rosetta Stone of PDAs.
Granted, the company has yet to produce a smartphone that has anyone giddy. But there's something to 1 billion customers and its uncanny ability to be No. 1 in countries as different as India and Saudi Arabia. If this somnolent giant ever wakes up and does what it says it wants to do, it could rule the mobile future. Innovation All-stars
Founded in Irvine, Califonia in 2002, Vizio became the largest seller of LCD TVs in 2007. You have to hand it to a company whose monomania for cost savings has almost single-handedly plunged LG, Sony, Panasonic, Pioneer, and Samsung into corporate despair.
One product and you make the Consumer Electronics Top 10 list? Darn right. The Kindle 2 and DX put the dig! in the digital e-reader boom, becoming Amazon's top-selling item across all product categories and owning 60% of the e-reader market. Read it and weep. Top 50: No. 2
The company invented the world's most popular laptop category, the Netbook. And, yes, Asus used to secretly make Apple's iPods. But it's the company's "Willy Wonka" innovation philosophy that makes Asus really cool--products that nobody ever dreamed of, produced for the masses, just in case.
Canon has long held sway in everyday imaging and technology, but Olympus has become the category leader. One winner: an entire line of shockproof, waterproof, point-and-shoot cameras that can be dropped from 5 feet, submerged to 33 feet, frozen to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, and stomped on by your Ansel Adams wannabe toddler.
10. LG Electronics
This is the TV company that cares about the skin of its electronics--and the electronics company that figured out how to nurture innovation in a Korean cube culture. LG won 12 Innovations awards at the 2010 Consumer Electronic Show for its bleeding-edge LED TVs, Blu-ray players, and network storage solutions. Innovation All-stars