The holiday fun is over and we're officially kicking off 2013 with a quick rundown of some of the top smartphones and tablets to rock the past year. There was multiple "flagship" devices that arrived this year from multiple manufacturers but we all know who the true champ was, and that's Samsung. Read on to see what made the Android Community list.
This was an excellent year for Android. Another strong push showing the mobile world, developers, and manufacturers just how awesome Android and its following really is. As expected Samsung was the clear winner for 2012. They rocked out on all fronts when it comes to smartphones so to start off our list meet the Galaxy S III.
Samsung Galaxy S III
The flagship Samsung Galaxy S III is exactly how Android smartphones should be done. OS and TouchWiz user interface changes aside Samsung released a powerhouse smartphone with nearly the latest version of Android, and released the same device on all carriers. We wish this trend would pick up with other devices (read: Nexus) and surely won't stop at the GSIII from Samsung.
Samsung's Galaxy S III was clearly the absolute best seller in the world of Android, or in general for that matter. With more than 30 million sales strong, and more continuing daily it's safe to say the Galaxy S III was by far the biggest and most successful smartphone to date. It came out early and in the US dropped the quad-core for a dual-core Snapdragon processor and 4G LTE, but it still is rocking out and shows no signs of slowing down. Until the Galaxy S IV rumors start flowing in of course. Thanks to the 4.8-inch Super AMOLED display, 2GB of RAM, and Android 4.0 ICS out of the gate this was an awesome smartphone.
Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX HD
Next on our list would have to be a RAZR. Not just any RAZR, but the MAXX HD for that massive 3,300 mAh battery, 4.7-inch display, dual-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and awesome Kevlar coated durable design. Motorola showed the Android world that amazing battery life can be achieved without using extended batteries or huge cases.
In 2013 we expect many manufacturers to take a similar approach and start offering devices that won't be called the "world's thinnest" but instead have impressive all-day battery life and beyond. I'll gladly have an extra millimeter or three in return for 48 hours of heavy usage. Get with the program HTC. Now that Google is at the helm of Motorola we're all hopeful for a RAZR Nexus. Give me a 4.7-inch 1080p quad-core smartphone with Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie and a 3,500 mAh battery and I'll never complain again. We're extremely excited to see how Motorola takes their direction in 2013.
LG Optimus G
LG's flagship Optimus G is an extremely impressive smartphone. Sadly it came to market just a little too late to try and steal some of Samsung's fire, but they're still doing extremely well with that beast of a smartphone. Being the first Snapdragon S4 Pro 1.5 GHz quad-core smartphone from LG, and in the US, the Optimus G hit the market running. With a 13 megapixel camera, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, 2GB of RAM and an awesomely bright display this phone had to make the cut.
LG's software is still slightly lacking. With their Optimus UI 3.0 being slightly improved over previous years, they're still not updating quite as fast as we'd like. No matter how amazing the hardware, Android faithful want timely updates. If LG can get that up to par in 2013 they'll continue to gain ground in the smartphone wars.
Google Nexus 7
We had to throw a tablet in here, and none is more deserving than the ASUS Nexus 7. It hit the market in June after Google I/O and showed everyone, not just Android fans, that an impressive tablet doesn't have to cost $499. With a 1280 x 800 HD display, quad-core processor, and the latest and greatest mobile OS in the world all for $199.
The Nexus 7 needs no introduction, no explanation, and no argument as to why you should buy it. For $199 the 16GB Nexus 7 is an absolute steal and the perfect tablet. Get the 3G HSPA+ model for portability if need be. We are excited for the future in this regard as well. While Google's not known for follow up devices (like a Nexus 7 2) we can expect a similar but greater product sometime around the middle of 2013. Exciting times folks. Exciting times!
HTC DROID DNA
HTC's new and flagship device hit late this year, but came out with a huge bang. Rocking the first of its kind 5-inch 1920 x 1080p full HD display with over 400 pixels-per-inch. Being truly a retina smashing device. Pair that with a quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 2GB of RAM, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and more this was HTC's strongest looking device of the year.
Obviously their biggest device of the year was the HTC One X, which deserves a mention, but the DROID DNA marks a new market for Android and has everyone else playing catch up. 2013 will be all about quad-core smartphones with large 1080p HD displays and more, and HTC's already beat many to the punch. Sadly, as mentioned above, its battery could use some help and hopefully the DNA 2 arrives quickly with a 3,000 mAh battery or more. Look forward to devices from all major carriers trying to match and top the DROID DNA.
LG Nexus 4
To start here, the Galaxy Nexus should make this list since it was one of the biggest devices of the year -- by far. However it was released in 2011 so we'll only give it an honorable mention. While it was later in the year, Google and LG's Nexus 4 marks a new era for Android. That era being powerhouse quad-core smartphones for $299 without a contract.
Sadly this device has been riddled with small issues with the durability of the back, not to mention being sold out everywhere and literally out of reach for hundreds of thousands of potential buyers -- it's still been highly popular. 2013 will be a big year for this device, as we're not expecting another Nexus smartphone for at least 4-6 months, possibly not until the end of the year. The Nexus 4 obviously gets brownie points for being pure Google. It'll have the latest and greatest software updates, all the time, and will be on the cutting edge for years to come. Good luck trying to buy one from Google though.
Samsung Galaxy Note II
We debated tossing this smartphone in the list, but it certainly deserves to be here. The Samsung Galaxy Note II rocks a 5.5-inch HD display, a quad-core processor, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box, oh and a massive 3,100 mAh battery. The S-Pen suite of apps only completes this masterpiece.
The sheer size of the device will turn some off (me included) but for the millions that have already purchased it, and the original, it's a clear sign that Samsung shouldn't slow down. And they aren't. In fact, there is already rumors of a 6.3-inch Galaxy Note III coming sometime soon this year. We'll be on the lookout for multiple manufacturers trying to mirror their success. Huawei has a 6.1-inch device, and I'm sure we'll see plenty more in 2013.
Obviously Android had record numbers in 2012, and this year will be even better. It surpassed iOS and Apple as the number one mobile OS in the world, and surely will add to that lead all year long. There was way too many devices to list them all but we wanted to give a few more honorable mentions. The ASUS Transformer Prime was one of the best tablets of the year even though it was released in December of 2011, but had a huge play in the Android tablet scene all year long. The HTC One X+ is worth mentioning simply for the fact that NVIDIA added 4G LTE to their quad-core processor, and we're expecting huge things from team green in 2013.
Last but not least we again wanted to shout out Motorola's DROID RAZR M. While it was exclusive to Verizon (and US Cellular) in the US, this 4.3-inch edge-to-edge display rocking dual-core 4G LTE powered smartphone was only $99. Motorola made a great device and now with Google helping out things will only get better. It's nice to see excellent devices hit the "entry level" pricing we've always loved. Expect much, much more of that in 2013.
What was your favorite device of 2012? Let us know below. Have a great year everyone and check out a few fun posts below!