This is a difficult question to answer without budget and purpose specified. For me, the best camera on the market today is the Ricoh R4. Ricoh is a Jap company that's been manufacturing cameras (as well as photocopiers ;-)) for decades. The Ricoh R4 is the smallest camera on the market with an optical zoom which is more than x4. And the optical zoom is actually x7!! If you want a truly pocketable camera with a truly long zoom from a reputable manufacturer, it's the only one. Along with most Ricohs, it also has an amazing macro function. The only disadvantage I've yet found is that the flash is a bit weedy. BTW I've been taking pics for 25 years and used to run a Nikon SLR system, two bodies, multiple lenses etc. My other digital compact is a Canon S2IS which while superior in every way apart from pixel count, is far less practical for everyday use.
The Ricoh R4 is available in the US. Check out the Ricoh forum on www.dpreview.com for info on where to get it.