2011 Android Central Awards

2011 brought an avalanche of hardware running Android -- some if it good, some of it not so good.  We try to love everything Android-related around these parts (really, we do), but some things just stand out more than others.  We asked you guys what your picks were in all the categories, but of course we had to chime in ourselves here.  We've fondled just about every Android device out there, and after a bit of discussion amongst ourselves, we've decided on just what ones rise to the top.

Remember -- our choices don't have to mimic yours.  That's the great thing about Android, there is a ton of choice for just about any taste.  Anyhoo, see our winners (and losers) after the break.

And coming up on Thursday -- the Readers' Choice Awards!

Smartphone of the year

Winner: The Motorola Droid RAZR

Droid RAZR

Yes, the Droid RAZR. 

It's beautiful, it's thin, it's fast, it's got a good camera, and it's our pick.  Other phones are out there that would have made a great choice here, but the RAZR nudged them all out.  We can't say any one feature is better than anything out there, but when you add them all together you have one hell of a smartphone.  Motorola and Verizon have outdone themselves.  If you're using one, you probably agree.  If you haven't used one, check one out next time you're at a Verizon store.  We think you'll be pleased.

Runner up: Samsung Galaxy Nexus

For many, the newest Nexus is the phone to have.  It had a bit of a troublesome launch -- and if you're on Verizon, you're probably still dealing with issues. But it has turned into an excellent smartphone in its own right.  Because it's a Nexus, it lacks a bit of the UI flare you have on some other phones, which is why it's a number two pick for our phone of the year. 

Traditional 10-inch Android tablet of the year

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Galaxy Tab 10.1

Thin and light, it's a great piece of technology and our choice as the best 10 inch tablet of 2011.  The beautiful screen and the standard Tegra 2 innards make for a great experience -- whether playing games or trying to be productive.  It's the Android tablet that changed Android tablets, and put that other company into a tizzy -- you can tell by all the courtroom drama.

Runner up: Acer Iconia A500

Since all 10-inch tablets are basically the same inside, look, feel, and features are the deciding factors here.  The Iconia has a full size USB port, a micro SD card slot, and is priced right.  Nobody will blame you if this is the tablet you choose.

But what about the ... ASUS Transformer Prime

We tell ya, if ASUS hadn't been hit with supply constraints, the Prime's easily in the Top 2. Look for it to be a top contender in 2012 as more people get it.

Sub-10-inch tablet or e-reader of the year

Winner: Amazon Kindle Fire

Kindle Fire

Full access to the Amazon eco-system, decent hardware specs, great build quality, and a $199 price point.  That's a recipe for success if there ever was one.  And if you're not afraid to void warranties, it's easy enough to drop the full Android experience on to the Fire.  There's a lot to love here.

Runner up: Barnes & Noble Nook Color

A great book reader with a color screen, in-person support at any Barnes and Noble location, and practically unbreakable on the software side.  It's getting long in the tooth, and the Nook Tablet is already at its heels. But at just $199, the Nook Color is still worth a look.

Most disappointing smartphone of the year

Loser: HTC ThunderBolt

HTC Thunderbolt

After all the fanfare, the ThunderBolt just failed to deliver.  Poor support from HTC and/or Verizon, issues from a brand new LTE network, and a build quality that leaves much to be desired makes the ThunderBolt our choice for the biggest disappointment this year.  If it weren't for the amazing developer community, we'd just want this one put out to pasture. 

Runner up: T-Mobile G2X

Take a phone with amazing build quality and materials, running stock Android on a Tegra 2 chip and you have something a lot of folks would love.  Once you add in really bad software and updates that took forever to fix it, you have a different experience.  The phone you can drive nails with died from lack of support.  Cest la vie.

Most disappointing tablet or other device

Loser: Logitech Revue

Logitech Revue

It's a given that version one products usually don't work as well as we'd like them to.  The Logitech Revue fits right in here.  It's a bit slow because of underpowered hardware, and did finally get that Honeycomb update we've been waiting for, but it just didn't live up to the hype.

Runner up: Motorola Xoom

Get LTE on your Motorola Xoom in one week, and a dozen or so easy steps.

'Nuff said.

Game of the year

Winner: Sprinkle

Sprinkle

It's challenging yet simple, attracts both the young and the old, and looks amazing.  Sprinkle is one of those games you can play when you need to waste some time, and leave it sit when you don't.  That's perfect (in our opinion) for a mobile game.  And it's fun.

Runner up: Angry Birds

It's Angry Birds.  Even if you don't love it, you have to show them some respect.  (They are angry, after all.)

Check-in app of the year

Winner: Foursquare

Foursquare

It's simple and it works.  It's also multi-platform so your friends and family that haven't seen the Android light can participate.  And there's a certain satisfaction in being the mayor of your couch!

Runner up: Google+

We're loving Google+, and check-ins combined with the great picture upload ability of Google+ make it a winner.

Social networking app of the year

Winner: Google+

Google+

We're loving Google+, and glad that the folks in Mountain View finally figured out what to do with Wave and Buzz.  Hangouts are a killer feature, and the Android app is great.  If you're not on Google+ yet, what are you waiting for?

Runner up: Facebook

Facebook may be more popular than Google+ (for now, anyways) a quick look at the Android app shows why it gets the number two spot instead of the blue ribbon.  You can do better, fellas.

Travel app of the year

Winner: Tripit

Tripit

Whether you're running all over the globe or just trying to keep track of your roving boss, Tripit has you covered.  Set up the app, and have your itinerary pulled right from your e-mail, and shared with your networked friends.  It's an Android bloggers best friend come this time of year.

Runner up: FlightTrack

Want to know when your boss' plane is about to touch down so you can call him?  It doesn't get much better than FlightTrack.

Business app of the year

Winner: Documents To Go

Docs to go

The granddaddy of them all, integration with Google Docs, and support for just about any format.  Docs to go is a staple in the business world for a reason.  Some things are simply worth the price, and this is one of those things.

Runner up: Google Docs

If you use Google Docs for your groups documents (and you probably should) having them at your fingertips is a big plus.

Keyboard of the year

Winner: SwiftKey X

SwiftKey X

When you can write an entire sentence by just entering a few characters, you know you have a winner on your hands.  Take the time to set up SwiftKey X, then spend a week or two letting it learn how you type, and you'll see what we're talking about. 

Runner up: Swype

A popular choice in its own right, but lack of availability (while it's preinstalled any many phones, it needs to be in the Android Market) keeps this one at number two.

Twitter app of the year

Winner: Twitter for Android

Twitter for Android

Twitter has come a long way this year with its Android app, and it shows.  Push messaging, multiple accounts, and a pleasant UI make for a great application.  If you like the Twitters, and we know a whole lot of you do, be sure to try the official application.

Runner up: Plume

If customization is your thing, then Plume is the Twitter client for you.  This one does it all, but can be a bit daunting to set up for the new user. 

Tablet app of the year

Winner: IMDb Movies & TV

IMDb

This is how a tablet app should be made.  IMDb fills your screen with relevant information, is easy to navigate, and looks great.  It sure beats using the desktop optimized website in your browser.  Content aside, the UI and layout make this one our choice.  Besides, who hasn't seen an old movie on Encore and just had to know who was starring in it?

Runner up: Google Currents

Google's learning how to make apps that are functional, full of options, and look great.  Currents is hopefully only the beginning, and a hell of a start it is.

Hacking app of the year

Winner: SuperUser

SuperUser

If you're going to allow apps on your phone to run as root, you had better have a way to monitor who is doing what.  SuperUser is simply a must-have for everyone who roots their Android device, and ChainsDD has been hard at work bringing the UI and feature set to a whole 'nother level.

Runner up: Root Explorer

A file manager, text editor, and image viewer that can run as root.  Root Explorer has saved countless numbers of people an infinite amount of time by not looking for a data cable.

Podcatcher of the year

Winner: Doggcatcher

Doggcatcher

If you're into podcasts like we're into podcasts, you'll love Doggcatcher.  Video and audio podcasts are grabbed and managed with ease, play back works great, and the settings allow for a great amount of scheduling to keep your battery usage in check.  Well worth a few bucks.

Runner up: Google Listen

Listen ties in very well with your Google Reader feeds, which makes it a fine choice for many.  If you use Google reader to manage your podcasts, be sure to have a look at Google Listen.

 
There are 101 comments

th0r615 says:

LOL is all I have to say. And that's not an internet 'lol' where you say 'lol' but you just smirked a little, no its a real 'lol' - I actually laughed out loud.

Astrodroid says:

I can't decide if you are already represented in this list or not:

The 20 Unhappiest People You Meet In The Comments Of Year End Lists

http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2011/12/14/143699630/the-20-unhappies...

icebike says:

Lol, spot on.

reelon says:

Lol

NART says:

Yup, #16

Davest says:

This is too perfect. I started reading down through the rest of the comments here, and I've already seen most of the entries on this list represented. Cheers!

MOTOX2 says:

I think The galaxy nexus should be first, maybe razr second and they should've put the rezound for an honorable mention... they are the top 3... but also..really the acer iconia 500? who the hell put that before the prime, even the transformer, even the xoom...?

gujupmp88 says:

yeah, i agree the galaxy nexus should be #1. Because it doesn't have a crap UI on top of stock android, it got bumped to #2?? HAHA, most people would make that an instant 1.

Transformer(1) should be at LEAST #2, if not number 1. Did they forget that it was actually launched this year??

I'm not even sure if the Prime was released here yet, so i don't know if people can claim that as one as this is a 2011 list. If it was released, than yes, I would put that at 1.

gtg465x says:

If price wasn't a factor the Iconia A500 wouldn't have been mentioned, but when a tablet that isn't far behind $500-$600 tablets in terms of specs and support is selling for $229 at Best Buy, you have to give it some credit.

icebike says:

I disagree, as hard as Phil tried to pan the Acer in his review, he just couldn't get around its sales figures.

And its telling that Phil called it a "nitch tablet" because it has all those ports, and now it gets runner up because: it has all those ports.

Acer was in the market ahead of most with LOTS of inventory and OUTSOLD all other Android tablets.

Yeah, its a tad heavy. So what?

It deserves second place on sales numbers alone, maybe first place if you ask me, since Samsung was banned in many countries for most of the year and it took samsung forever to get the wifi only version out.

If the Transformer had the inventory to match the others it would have easily taken first place.

E_man says:

According to analyst numbers, the iconia was behind Asus and well behind Samsung in sales. Analysts might not be the most accurate, but they trump random internet fanboys...

angermeans says:

Your right. I can't honestly put a skinner phones (esp by Motorola) as Smartphone of the year. GNexus deserves that as it is a true next gen device not just a thinner Bionic plus it has had more problems than the GNex for sure. I also dont agree with the tablet esp the Acer. I know the Galaxy Tab 10.1 deserves mention but I prefer the Xoom and I think most will once they see how much faster we are all running ICS and Samsung is left scratching their head attempting to shove that horrible TouchWiz interface down our throats. Also I think the Rezound is just a better phone than the Razr so I would have put that far ahead of the Razr for sure. That HD screen wipes the floor with a qHD with Pentile. It looks awful and feels awful. The Rezound is the true under the radar phone and almost everyone I've seen that has one has great things to say about it. After owning the Thunderbolt I def agree it is the worst phone of the year. Launched with outdated specs, had no support, and can't keep a 4G signal to save it's life. I finally dumped mine last week and was just happy to get it out of my site. If it wasnt for the Galaxy Nexus I would have stayed burned out on Android. The Thunderbolt got me into the HTC Trophy and I love that phone Mango really is great and I use that along side my Galaxy Nexus and Motorola Xoom. Apps I agree with Swiftkey, but have to say that Minecraft and GTA III are my fav games of the year. Google+ is a great app and I agree it is much cleaner and nicer to use than Facebook. I'm not one for social networks but Google+ feels new and different. Last but not least I would say Pocket Casts as my fav podcatcher only because I haven't used doggcatcher yet. It will be really interesting to see our choices as I see them being very different at least in Smartphone of the year

icebike says:

Paragraphs. Just sayin....

CaptainYoshi says:

The RAZR?? Seriously?? It's bad enough Verizon is pushing that phone above all others but I expect better from you guys... and yes I did try one at the Verizon store and still picked the Rezound..

You guys need to do member voting next time..

tspeice87 says:

And if they did member voting I'm sure GNex would win. These are obviously opinions and like it was stated at the beginning of the article, different users have different needs and that's what makes Android the best. You can get what you want to suit your needs.

And coming up on Thursday -- the Readers' Choice Awards! . . . That I voted in... Where the hell were you lame?

Wolfgar2k says:

The RAZR on Verizon is all fine and dandy, but it's not only sold there. In Canada on the Rogers network it's sold WITHOUT LTE!!!! Quite frankly, that automatically removes it from the running. I'd take a GN or SGSII over a slow connected RAZR.

JOHNGAETANO says:

How the Prime is not #1 is beyond me. No way is the GT or Acer ahead of the Prime. Not in this lifetime.

LOL about the Razr beating out the Galaxy Nexus. I have had the GN for a week now, and despite my hesitation in buying this phone, I have to say I am truly impressed. Having used a Razr for 3 weeks on rental (LOL) I can tell you that the Nexus (GSM version) blows the Razr out of the water.

I am still blown away that the Prime is not #1. I am finally dumping my iPad2 for this bad boy. Speed kills, and the Prime has plenty of speed.

icebike says:

The Prime arrived too late to be of any significance in 2011, with too little inventory.

"OF THE YEAR" awards are not about what was ANNOUNCED in the year, but what was actually SOLD and popular during the year.

The GNEX shouldn't even qualify, since it was so horribly delayed. Maybe not the Razr either since it hit so late in the year.

Taz89 says:

agree completely,these devices came out at the end and we will not see the impacts of these devices for few more months...thats why i think the gs2 should have won phone of the year as it came in may and is still considered by many as one of the best or if not the best android device.the s2 is the most popular android and sold millions this year and will continue next year.spec vs spec it is still impressive and to be considered still a top phone and not be outdated 8+ months later in the android world is a feat in itself where normally a device is outdone by another a week later but not the s2 where only recently the only place its been outdone is in screen resolution.

Wicell says:

I totally agree, the s2 is by far the best phone of the year, it may have taken a long time to hit US Carriers, but it still rocketed in sales when it did hit. Just look at the uproar from Verizon's announcement of not carrying an s2, I think if verizon would have had an s2 it would easily have kept the G-Nex on the low side.

Sent from my Sprint Epic 4G Touch.

cwilson617 says:

Asus totally botched this launch of what may arguably be the best tablet on the market. It doesn't deserve 1st place, or even 2nd. Manufacturers should be held responsible for their performance getting the product to market, support of the product, the whole 9. Do better Asus.

MrStylz says:

Horribly delayed in the United States maybe, but it was released in November, as was the RAZR.

rexxman says:

ThunderBolt is the most disappointing smartphone of the year? What axe do you have to grind Jerry? ThunderBolt delivers it for me!

Jet300 says:

Disappointing build quality?? About the only bad thing on the TBolt is the peeling kickstand. Otherwise the TBolt is built like a tank! ... The TBolt with its 2.3 update is a FINE device; albeit one with a small battery.

Astrodroid says:

Yeah the kickstand is the only thing I can think of. Otherwise totally solid. Its heft added to that impression I'm sure.

This is not "What would Jerry pick".

Nobody would like that list :P

AjStone says:

I'm pretty disappointed myself. I own the Transformer and the Thunderbolt and both deserve number 1 in my book, but honestly the Droid RAZR??? And a Nexus should be demoted due to "lack of flair"???

The Razr over the Galaxy S2 and the Nexus? What?

DirkBelig says:

The Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch ROFL WTF BBQ looks like sex and runs like greased grease. It's so smooth that my ASUS Transformer and old OG EVO 4G feel broken in comparison and it doesn't rank in the top two? Riiiiiiiiiiiight.

MrCheyl says:

Greased grease!!! Comment of the year goes to you sir. Bravo

Jacques says:

Ditto on the Galaxy SII (and variants) and Galaxy Nexus over the Razr. C'mon, the Razr even gets beat head-to-head against the SII Skyrocket in other publications, so the GN should easily wax it.

really the razr....lolwuh what about SGS2 that phone is awesomeee I agree with the galaxy nexus tho.

icu says:

I understand Doggcatcher as #1 I own it and used it, but why does BeyondPod get no love? Surely it could be #2 and it syncs with Google Reader fantastically. Listen?

As for the rest I haven't used em but they sound about right. I am surprised by the RAZR, but I suppose y'all know something I don't. I would have guessed SGSII, but maybe I need to read some RAZR reviews... Naw the screen and battery scare me too much.

mallengi says:

The RAZR is a great phone, even if not for me. What I don't understand is how DoggCatcher seems to be number one in every list of Android Podcatcher rankings. I've tried a bunch of different applications, but BeyondPod punishes them all and they are always working to improve the product. I sent them a note about a change I wanted to see and they made it immediately and wrote me back to thank me for my feedback. There is no Windows or Linux software that even matches what BeyondPod offers. I honestly want to know what makes DoggCatcher better. I can find absolutely nothing that I like better about it -- not one feature.

Taz89 says:

razr just makes a 4.3'' phone too big i mean those bezzels are massive,gs2 international version makes a 4.3''device feel small in my opinion...agree on doggcactcher,tried it and dont see what makes it better than the rest,tried beyond pod trial and was good but for me the best podcast app has to be pocketcast,if you have not tried it then do...sadly there is no trial so you will have to buy it but is cheaper than both doggcatcher and beyond pod.

Fumetsu says:

The Iconia doesnt get the respect it deserves. Very hackable, lots of ports, a bit on the heavier side but a really solid device. I love mine, good to see it represented.

For podcasting Id say its a tie between BeyondPod and Pocket Casts. I tried Listen and the UI just wasnt that great, IMHO.

HAAS599 says:

Great picks! The only one I would argue with is Sprinkle for best game but that is it.

icebike says:

Agreed, with Angry Birds setting all kinds of sales and download records going into its 2nd (3rd?) year, and over 100 MILLION installs, how does Sprinkle even appear on the distant horizon?

carter17 says:

So many haters on the RAZR it is a very good phone. But keep hatin. And the thunderbolt deserves worst phone of the year if it's not rooted and oc that thing is so laggy. And let's not mention battery life

who the hell voted for Google Listen?

DirkBelig says:

The thing I missed the most from my Palm Pre when I got an EVO was the paucity of decent FREE podcast apps. I tried Listen and was driven nuts about how every time the Bluetooth in my Sync connected, it launched itself because it presumed that I was wanting to listen to podcasts. There was no way of turning off headset controls, so I tossed it. (My Epic 4G Touch has the same problem with the stock audio app and I had to get an app that blocks these things. STUPID DESIGN! GIVE USERS CHOICE AND CONTROL, PLEASE!!!)

Thanks to the Amazon free app of the day, I was able to get Pocket Casts and it's pretty good. Other than it frequently forgetting what podcast I was listening to, requiring that I restart it (at least it remembers where I left off, something Listen couldn't do), it fills the bill.

ScottJ says:

Pocket Casts is no longer supported in the Amazon app store. Thus, there haven't been any updates in months. Buy it on the Android Market instead and support a good developer. It has been updated many times there since it was the Amazon FOTD.

bobsageek says:

Love my RAZR, good call.

Didn't the review on AC criticize the Razr for it's non removable battery and specifically state, that the Nexus was the device to own in 2012?

Razr: Yet another "best-of" phone for Verizon. But the Droid RAZR's size could be a bit much for some, and we've got real concerns about not being able to swap out the battery for a fresh one when needed.

Nexus: If, like many of us, you’ve been constantly holding out for that “next big thing” in the Android world, this is your signal to stop waiting and reach for your wallet. The Galaxy Nexus is the Android phone you want to own in 2012.

Taz89 says:

no consistency as usual.

Wicell says:

The RAZR makes my SGSIIE4GT feel small.

MazoMark says:

Razr is a joke right??

Podcatcher should be Pocket Cast. Better UI than Doggcatcher.

kstoutdog says:

The Iconia A500 getting some love.. Sweet!
I bought mine back when staples was giving $100 off of tablets. Best $299 I spent in 2011

Taz says:

It is a great buy. I have used the transformer and own the Iconia now. Both are pretty close spec wise, but the price can't be beat! And love the ports!

wezra says:

The G2x is (was) a great phone. Once LG hit with the software update with the fixes it was (is) the phone it should have been out of the box. And isn't that a major point. I have yet to see any Android phone that hasn't needed one or two updates soon after release. If I am not mistaken, didn't the Razor receive an update already?

So Android Central, don't be so quick to judge. The fact is that the G2x is the best phone I have ever had... and I have had a lot of them. Including a number of Android phones. The main problem the G2x had is that it really wasn't a consumer phone. It is plain vanilla Android, nearly a Developers phone. The public wants all the bells and whistles and a phone that doesn't have all of that isn't going to sell. And that is what happened to the G2x. It simply didn't sell well enough for T-Mobile to keep it updated and around. That said... it is getting ICS sometime in 2012.

MotoMan78 says:

SGS2 got robbed .... #DoOver

AirSushi says:

"Do over"....*grin*

That comment made me think back to the 2000 Presidential election.

Maybe this was performed in Florida???

MrCheyl says:

I'm writing this while laughing at this comment.

MowDownJoe says:

You are aware that's where Phil lives, right?

Jacques says:

Werd. Over 10 million sold around the world (not even counting the US), and it doesn't even make #1 or #2?!

Taz89 says:

yep tell me about it what did the gs2 not do to be not crowned AC phone of the year where many other sites clearly saw it as the best phone of the year ie t3,cnet,gadget show etc

jmberling says:

I love my Thunderbolt, but I do agree that it is mostly due to the developer community. I also have a Motorola Xoom and couldn't be happier. I refuse to sign up through Verizon for a plan so I just bought the Wifi version and have yet to have a problem with it.

Samsung on the other hand, makes very cheap products and they are outdated almost as soon as you walk out of the store. Samsung needs to put out products with higher quality and not worry about filling the market with products that are just okay.

DolphinDroid says:

I also have both the Thunderbolt and Xoom (wi-fi). They are both fantastic devices. My Thunderbolt has been rock solid since I bought it in April and my kickstand has yet to peel at all. The Xoom is an awesome piece of technology that has the specs that most tablets produced later have.

Both of these get bad press from the early issues that occurred because they were the first 4G devices. Yes... Verizon, Motorola, and HTC bungled the release and early support for these two, but they eventually resolved the problems and they are both among the best out there. Unfortunately this has tainted the opinions of many experts.

mallengi says:

With the Logitech Revue at under $100 new, why is it getting no love? We all agree that $250 was too much, but Roku XS is always on everyone's "best device" list and "best tech gift under $100" list, and yet Logitech Revue is garbage? What's up with that?

Robbzilla says:

Someone got a bad taste in their mouth and is still nursing that grudge, I suppose.

PhilipC#AC says:

Haha, I just bought a G2x and a Logitech Revue and they're both absolutely fantastic! These are both completely underrated devices that have been completely reborn with the latest software update... The bad reputation made them both cheap, so I guess I win!

Selvedge630 says:

This list should be awarded Most Ridiculous List of the Year. The bionic is a piece of garbage whose launch was bungled just as badly as the thunderbolt and the device itself has far more issues. Claiming that the RAZR beats the GNex because the GNex DOESN'T have a crappy bloated skin on top of it, not to mention the numerous problems the RAZR has, including SIM errors and data connection problems? Insanity. The only major issue with the Galaxy Nexus is that the volume of the speaker is practically inaudible, since the signal issues turned out to not actually be an issue with signal but with signal bars showing on the status bar(thanks anandtech!). How much did Verizon pay you guys to push the locked down Droid RAZR over the far superior, easily unlocked, and easily modded GNex?

AirSushi says:

I bet they paid them in skittles.....I would sell my soul for skittles if I hadn't already sold it to win Android Central's GNex give away....which I didnt win so I sit here with out a free GNex and skittles.....sad sad existence.

shieatt says:

Completely agree, I'm sensing some deliberate insane choices of words on this list to entice its visitors to comment. AndroidCentral must be "comment-fishing" because the one thing tht is unanimous amongst all Android enthusiasts is that the manufacturer skins 'suck' (yess... Sense is alright, Motorola 'Blur' is a bloated mess). To penalize the Gnex for NOT having a manufacturer skin on it, is blood curdling to any Android enthusiast and they know that. This leads me to think that Android Central is deliberately saying these stupid things to get people talking about their article and raise their sites profile at the end of the year. Not unlike ROlling-stone does with their "Greatest artists of all time" Ranking ...

sk102704 says:

Wrong. the Bionic is not a piece of garbage! They definitely got it right naming the TB most disappointing phone of the year! Without a doubt...

Selvedge630 says:

The Bionic never should have been released. The RAZR surpasses it in every way possible, though not nearly enough to beat the Galaxy S2 or the Nexus as phone of the year. The Bionic has a huge amount of bugs and STILL has massive signal issues where the only way to restore signal is to toggle airplane mode. Sure, it feels sturdy in the hand, and the Thunderbolt was a mess at launch with its reboot issues, which were eventually fixed, but it works as a phone, and doesn't lose signal and then require user intervention to fix the problem. That's why the bionic is more disappointing; because it was hyped to all hell for half a year and then fell completely flat and still can't even hold signal. It's why I willingly went back to a thunderbolt while I awaited the Galaxy Nexus.

Welcome everybody to another edition of the Android Central Podcast, brought to you buy the android central store, I mean Motorola.....lol

aburgthing says:

As a tech site dedicated to Android enthusiast this list is very disappointing. The locked down Razr... really? A phone that will get little to no developer support and an offhanded praise of that horrible UI (Not Blur) by your statement that vanilla ICS is a liability? The Galaxy Pad 10.1 with extremely limited ports and no micro SD slot to go along with Samsung's notoriously slow upgrades? Throw in Touchwiz on top of Honeycomb and you once again miss your mark. And lastly the Iconia over the revolutionary and price conscious Transformer makes absolutely no sense. Come on Android Central, we are the educated Android users and we deserve better.

daredem says:

I had/have the Captivate, Atrix, Atrix 2, Vivid. Loved them all. My Vivid is outstanding on performance. Solidly built as well. No restarts!!! I always use a premium case...I never use a naked phone anyways...I voted HTC Vivid. I have the Acer A500...great device...outstanding on performance as well...Acer is good with the updates...I voted Acer A500. Just bought Logitech Revue...so far so good...with the reduced price, u can't beat the deal. I am totally immersed into the Google ecosystem, so the Revue fits right on in. No problems so far...

cmandd says:

Pocket cast is the best podcast app I've used.

irtechneo says:

THIS list is lame. With the full screen adds and crappy articles lately this site is getting lame. Starting to remind me of the sell out site engadget.

mao mao says:

I just traded a t-mo N1 I had bought for my gf who's on at&t (took me like a day to figure out why 3g wouldn't work) for a G2X. I have a G2 but I think I'm going to switch over the the G2X. The screen is beautiful, and the phone is blazing quick. Now, if only there was a notification light...

Taz89 says:

how did the galaxy s2 not win phone of the year,the phone came out in may and is still the fastest android phone and has won phone of the year on many sites already,seriously the droid razr?that thing has a huge bezel that makes a 4.3'' screen device bigger than it should be,its the same size as a 4.65'' nexus..there isnt one outstanding feature about the razr.the build is great i'll give it that...before any eats me alive this is my opinion lol

Taz89 says:

shouldnt this be titled jerry's 2011 awards

jess701 says:

Come on man for real the Razr no way I have had many phones and I would never purchase a motorola.... This phone thats out now called the Rezound ever here of it pushing dual 1.5 dont think the razar is HTC Rezound rocks Folks!

crxssi says:

The Xoom itself was not very disappointing at all, and it is stupid that it would be listed as the "runner up" to most disappointing.

It was the *VERIZON* Xoom that disappointed and caused most of the negativity, because of the cell modem disaster. The WiFi Xoom was just fine- it performs exactly the same as the other Tegra 2 tablets, is well built, has great battery life, nice display, reasonable dimensions, and once the competition started, the price was nearly the same as other 10" Tegra 2 tablets with the same amount of storage.

The only issue with the non-Verizon Xoom was the SD card, and that was because Honeycomb was not ready to deal with it. The Xoom is a essentially a Nexus tablet (and also the first real Android tablet) so it was Google's fault, and it would be the same with other tablets except those vendors eventually hacked on their own code to deal with it. By the time there was any reasonable competition, the Xoom was updated to handle the SD card (although still in only read mode).

Given the track record of Samsung, I, for one, feel FAR safer with a Xoom than a Samsung tablet....

^This, srsly
The xoom is much farther ahead of the acer and its the equivalent of a nexus FFS! Ive build ICS for it already and flashed it meanwhile people are waiting for Acer to release what?

npangborn says:

Samsung Galaxy S2 clearly should have won best smartphone.

You all should change the name to:

"Best Smartphone of November and December 2011" but you didn't even get that right so....yeah.

jedah says:

The Razr, Rezound, and Nexus may all be the best phones, but I'd say the S2 was probably the most important.

It seemed like the first phone that could truly handle the power of Android (super fast, no lags, great battery life) and accomplished this in style (thinnest phone with a gorgeous display).

After 8 months now it's still a top notch phone, and only now have other manufacturers really caught up (or surpassed).

brumbake says:

T-bolt after the major software update last summer became a solid device. I have never had a battery issue, and it never has failed me. However, it is frustrating to have to sign a two-year contract to get a phone that you list as the "most disappointing" - and now have to wait another 15 months to upgrade.

Screamer4 says:

"Because it's a Nexus, it lacks a bit of the UI flare you have on some other phones, which is why it's a number two pick for our phone of the year. "

LOL

So it won because it has crap on there that most people can't wait to take off as soon as they buy it and root it? Makes sense to me!

Sometimes less is more. GNex or GSG2/Skyrocket should be the #1 phones, with the RAZR behind them.

Screamer4 says:

.....

Kronko says:

HTC Thunderbolt and Asus Transformer are number ones in my list. No complain at all, non rooted units.

Mikegrann says:

It's not like it hasn't been mentioned already, but the Galaxy S2 REALLY deserved to be top 2. If you want to put it behind the Nexus, I can understand that; some people simply can't handle skins, even if they are as good as Touchwiz 4. However, you can't deny the sales figures, processing power, and smooth UI of the S2.

I honestly can't think of a single complaint about my S2. Hopefully the readers get it right and pick the ACTUAL best phone of 2011.

dacp283 says:

Razr over Gnex in build quality, radios, camera, and functionality. So what if the Nexus has ICS the Razr will too in a few months and it wont even be a contest then. I'm unbiased I don't own either anymore lol.

People seem to forget that average users prefer the functionality of skins over "stock vanilla android". While most of us would prefer nothing loaded on our phones, most average users prefer the ease of a skin to help them do things instead of having to work hard to figure it out/download programs to do the basics.

Just my 2 cents.

mrbizzy72 says:

The Razr had the better commercials tho...lol

cygnusx8 says:

Where's Google music? Best app on my phone!

cenkaetaya says:

Samsung Galaxy 2 should be phone of the year, its what all the other ones aspired to be.

it was the first best, and still top best of all phones in 2011.

15israellai says:

I'm still not using Google+ (with my main account that I use daily, anyway), and what am I waiting for? Waiting for them to lower the age limit, apparently. Google still remembers my real age for some reason :(

hwy101 says:

Really the razr? Why do I feel someone sold their soul for this one???
Thunderbolt??? I used to trust your reporting, now not so sure anymore?

hintzilla says:

You really think stock ICS is lacking UI flare compared to MotoBlur? Really? REALLY?

JakeChance says:

I'm sorry, the Nexus was the runner up because it LACKED OEM UI customizations!? Are you serious?

I'm not saying the RAZR isn't a great phone but the greater Android community has a big problem with OEM customizations delaying updates and locked bootloaders.

plunder says:

re Tablets: The format of the Transformer Prime has potential; but is it trying to be two many things at once? I wonder what Samsung will show in Q1. I want better connectivity and image handling, why don't I have that now.

The Samsung S2 was probably the phone we actually could buy in 2011.

IceDree says:

Damn , Allot of RAZR hate !!!
We gotta give it to Motorola for what they accomplished with the RAZR

they managed to squeeze an LTE radio , Dual-Core CPU , 1GHz RAM & a 4.3" SuperAMOLED Advanced screen , 2 HD cameras , 16GB Internal storage + SD slot , a Real HDMI out , stainless steel & Aluminum chassis , & a Carbon reinforced Kevlar plate all in a 7.1 MM thickness

That is allot of stuff to put in a phone thats a 7.1mm thick

Its just as powerful as Galaxy Nexus if not more , Yes the Rezound have a 1.5GHz CPU & a HD screen , but it also twice as thick

Regarding the skinned UI , some people might actually prefer a MotoBlured , Sensed or TouchWized android over vanilla , its a manner of a personal preference

The software is not everything , the Hardware & the build quality plays a big role too

In the end , its their choice & opinion "The 2011 Android Central Awards EDITOR'S pick" , keyword : Editors
Don't forget they gave us the chance to vote for the Reader's pick
Don't hate on them for their choice

just my .02s

DECLAIMER : I don't have a RAZR & I don't Work for Motorola or Verzion

jennyfur says:

Totally agree with you. The Razr is a great phone, not sure what all the hate is about. A lot of people commenting seem to be ignoring hardware and build quality and are focusing entirely on software.

I personally ended up getting a galaxy nexus, but really the only reason I went that way over the Razr was due to the vanilla OS, which ISN'T something the average user gives a damn about. Only us geeks are gonna be rooting our phones. Take that out of the equation and the Razr has the leg up. Plus it has a lot of handy features such as Smart Actions which also appeal to the average user.

Yes, the galaxy S2 was out longer, but just because something was only released in November doesn't mean it can't still count in a year's end list.

hwy101 says:

I don't recall stating that I hated the razr. They just got it Wrong!
razr is not on top and thunderbolt is not on the bottom.
I don't need a disclaimer as my post does not look like its from an insider. Just my .02s

DeeMat says:

I don't get how "they... got it wrong"? These are the Editor's choices and they get to choose whatever they want - and even shared with us their reasoning. You, on the other hand, are a reader and had a chance of voting on the Reader's choice.

lionsson says:

I hate to say this, but it looks like Verizon is spending money on the Droid Raze vs Galaxy Nexus.

Jeremy626 says:

tihs is effing rubbish.. RAZR??? WTF??
uhhhhhh, even the GS2 is better than the razr.
and doggcatcher? and then the runner up is Listen? WTF r u guys smoking.
WTF?

uhhhh, POCKET CASTS is the best podcast app right now.

AC has lost all of its credibility, PERIOD.