Apple swept the awards for end-user hardware, taking Best Notebook Computer, Best Ultranotebook, and Best Smartphone. The MacBook Pro, still the best notebook you can buy, won for the second year in a row. The iPhone won for the first time, having added important business-oriented features in the 3G edition -- closing the gap with BlackBerry, Nokia, and Windows Mobile -- and leaping ahead of the pack with the amazing App Store.
Hardware heavyweights Dell and Sun took two prizes each. The virtualization host with the most, Dell's high-performance and excellently expandable PowerEdge R905, won Best Virtualization Server, while Dell's Precision M6400 took our prize for Best Mobile Workstation. Although the M6400 isn't as user-friendly as HP's entry in the class, we couldn't help but admire the effort Dell made to squeeze maximum horsepower into a luggable chassis.
HP was tops among desktop workhorses with the value-leading xw4600, our choice for Best Workstation. When eight cores is overkill -- and it usually is -- the xw4600 Workstation delivers terrific bang for the buck.
Sun's Sun Fire X4150 server won Best 1U Server for a similar engineering feat, stuffing 2U of capabilities into the thinner form factor. Sun also walked away with Best Fixed Content Archiving Solution, which went to the highly resilient, cell-based Sun StorageTek "Honeycomb," a storage solution that's harder to kill than Steven Seagal.
Virtualization juggernaut VMware also claimed two Technology of the Year Awards. No doubt surprising no one, VMware Infrastructure 3 repeats as winner for Best Server Virtualization Platform, as well as VMware Workstation for Best Desktop Virtualization. The chase is on, but competitors still have no match for these two trailblazers.
VMware would own the virtualization triple crown, but we called Parallels Desktop for Mac over VMware Fusion once again this year -- by a fraction of a nose. Fusion has closed the gap with astonishing speed and even did a few things better, but it hasn't surpassed Parallels quite yet. The reigning Windows-on-Mac champ keeps the belt.