The device, which has 3.2in touch-screen, a five-megapixel camera and runs Google 's Android operating system, won plaudits for its easy of use, elegant interface and clever design.
The Hero – which has been crowned gadget of the year by both Stuff and T3 – was praised by Omio for its useful features and slick social-networking tools. "The Hero is easily the next best thing to the iPhone," said Ernest Doku, an analyst with the phone comparison site.
The company compiled a list of the 10 most popular handsets of 2009, based on sales, praise and online buzz generated by gadget fans and industry experts. Apple's iPhone 3GS was beaten in to third place by another device made by Taiwanese manufacturer HTC – the HD2, which runs the latest version of Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating system.
"The HTC HD2 is equally at home being a business device as a multimedia powerhouse," said Doku.
Touch-screen handsets dominated the list, with phones from Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Nokia and Research in Motion, makers of the BlackBerry, featuring in the top 10. Devices that provided access to an "app store", which allows users to easily download extra software, programs and games on to their phone, were also popular.
"Apps have been one of the big stories of 2009, so it's not surprising that many of the most popular phones have had their own app stores," said Doku. "It's a trend that looks set to continue well in to 2010."
The 10 most popular phones of the year
1. HTC Hero
The strong design, slick social networking skills and beautiful implementation of the Android operating system with the ‘Sense’ user interface, has seen the HTC Hero grab an armful of ‘Best Phone’ awards this year, and rightly so. With its five-megapixel autofocus camera, 3.2in capacitive touch-screen and GPS in a unique, angular form factor, the Hero is possibly the best phone to demonstrate what Google’s new operating system is really capable of.
2. HTC HD2
The ‘wow’ factor of the HTC HD2 is definitely marrying Microsoft’s mobile operating system to that mammoth 4.3in touch-screen display, and is the first device running Windows Mobile 6.5 to support a multi-touch interface. With a five-megapixel camera and dual-LED flash, GPS and support for apps through Marketplace for Mobile, the HD2 is the perfect poster boy for the next generation of Windows phones.
3. Apple iPhone 3GS
Getting the design so very right first time has given Apple the ability to improve rather than revolutionise, and the iPhone 3GS is the second update to the groundbreaking formula. It improves on the iconic device with a three-megapixel camera, video recording, voice controls and up to 32GB of storage. The Apple iPhone 3GS is able to do it all, faster.
4. Samsung Genio Touch
The Samsung Genio Touch continues the popular range with a cheap and cheerful handset that brings touch-screen joy without the price tag. The 2.8in display offers the same TouchWiz user interface found on higher end devices, and with customisable covers as well as a two-megapixel camera, the Genio Touch punches above its weight in terms of both looks and specification. Little wonder customers are snapping this little beauty up in their droves.
5. Sony Ericsson Satio
A 12. megapixel wielding device that combines the strongest features of the Cybershot range, the Sony Ericsson Satio offers a powerful combination of features: there's the 12.1-megapixel camera, which has some of the best aspects of Sony's Cybershot camera range; and it boasts a fantastic Walkman-esque music player, married together with a slick, full touch Symbian-powered user interface. The 3.5in display is clear, crisp and responsive to the touch, and the built-in 3G connectivity and GPS set it on a par with the strongest smartphone contenders.
6. Palm Pre
Already a million-seller in the United States, the Palm Pre is a great device, boasting a 3.1in touch-screen and 3.1-megapixel camera. This socially-savvy handset pulls contact information automatically from networking sites, including Facebook, in to a single menu. The combination of cute pebble-shaped design, slide-out Qwerty keyboard and the debut of Palm's smooth new ‘Web OS’ operating system makes the Pre a worthy alternative to Apple’s iPhone.
7. Nokia 5800 XpressMusic
The Nokia 5800 XpressMusic is the epitome of cool. With a plectrum for a stylus, endorsement from today’s fashionable young things and a full touch interface, the 5800 was bound to be a hit. A music phone at heart, the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic ticks all the boxes, with 3G connectivity, Wi-Fi support, a 3.2-megapixel camera and a sharp 3.2in high resolution touch-screen display. Music is stored on an 8GB memory card, and the 3.5mm audio jack means that your favourite headphones can be plugged in with little trouble. It was outselling the iPod at one point as the UK’s biggest music player. The Nokia 5800 is one seriously hot handset.
8. Nokia N900
Taking cues from Nokia’s range of internet tablets, the N900 delivers a close-to-desktop browsing experience, as well as offering cutting edge smartphone functionality. The N900’s gorgeous 3.5in touch-screen, slide-out Qwerty keyboard and five-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss lens all impress, but it is the brand new experience that Nokia’s Linux-based Maemo platform offers that has early adopters in a frenzy.
9. LG Chocolate BL40
The latest in LG’s exclusive Black Label series, the BL40 boasts a 4in LED touch screen, a five-megapixel autofocus camera and an exciting new user interface. Watch movies in full-screen mode, and browse web pages in all their glory thanks to the screen’s unique 21:9 widescreen ratio. The quirky shape and multimedia credentials have definitely given shoppers a sweet tooth in recent months, with the Chocolate selling strongly since its September release.
10. BlackBerry Curve 8520
Courting the casual user and breaking taboos seem to be the primary aims of the Curve 8520, which gets rid of the famous BlackBerry "trackball" in favour of an optical pad, and adding dedicated media buttons. The Curve 8520 is still very much a messaging device, sporting the familiar Qwerty keyboard and push-email functionality that the BlackBerry brand has become famous for. With access to BlackBerry App World and a standard headphone jack so you can use it with your own earphones, the Curve 8520 strikes the perfect balance between fashion accessory and connected device.