ANDROID CENTRAL PRESENTS

THE BEST OF 2013 AWARDS

It's been a busy year. 2013 has been full of amazing new devices, new accessories, and new apps. Over the last month, we've had voting open to you fine readers to choose your favorite products of the year across all categories.

Over 220,000 votes were cast for this year's awards, which is overwhelming in and of itself. Needless to say, we're excited to show off what's made the biggest impression among you, the Android fanbase at large. Many of the results aren't especially surprising, while others might cause an eyebrow raise or two.

Let's dig into what made the biggest splash in 2013, shall we?



DEVICES

phone

THE BEST ANDROID SMARTPHONE OF 2013

Google Nexus 5

Google and LG's latest Nexus phone represents the cutting edge of Android, with top-level hardware, a cleaner, brighter Android OS with more Google-centric features, and an unbeatable price point.

Runner-up: Motorola Moto X

phone

THE BEST OVER-SIZED ANDROID SMARTPHONE OF 2013

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

No-one does big smartphones quite like Samsung. In a year of many big-screened contenders, the Galaxy Note 3 proved the best in terms of hardware, feature set and, just as important, hand and pocket-friendliness.

Runner-up: Sony Xperia Z Ultra

phone

THE BEST SMALL ANDROID TABLET OF 2013

Google Nexus 7 (2013)

The second-generation Nexus 7 shrinks its bezels and its overall thickness, while bringing to the table a much faster CPU and a top-notch Full HD display. It’s easily the best tablet you can buy for around $200.

Runner-up: Samsung Galaxy Note 8

phone

THE BEST LARGE ANDROID TABLET OF 2013

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 - 2014 Edition

This year’s Galaxy Note 10.1 takes the Note 3’s design and features and transforms it into a full-size tablet with a stunning screen. The 10.1-inch, WQXGA display and S Pen stylus provides more room for drawing, notes and design work.

Runner-up: Sony Xperia Tablet Z

APPS

THE BEST OVERALL ANDROID APP OF 2013

Google Now

Google’s card-based virtual assistant has gone from a clever sideshow to an integral part of Android, most notably on the Nexus 5. From simple things like weather, directions and reminders to more advanced cards for flights, hotels and movies, Google Now has become one of the platform’s most important features.

Runner-up: Swiftkey

THE BEST ANDROID BUSINESS APP OF 2013

Google Drive

There are many cloud storage apps for Android, but Google Drive also manages to excel at content creation on the go, with slick interfaces for editing documents and spreadsheets on the go.

Runner-up: Dropbox

THE BEST ANDROID EDUCATION APP OF 2013

Google Translate

Google’s own translation app offers text, voice, symbol and image translations in 80 or so languages. And offline mode means it doesn’t have to burn through precious roaming data either.

Runner-up: Wikipedia

THE BEST ANDROID ENTERTAINMENT APP OF 2013

YouTube

When it comes to entertainment, it’s tough to beat the world’s biggest video hosting platform, with many professional partners now onboard. The YouTube app for Android also got a sizeable update this year with a new look and shrinkable video windows.

Runner-up: Chromecast

THE BEST ANDROID HEALTH APP OF 2013

Endomondo

A comprehensive sports tracking app for any kind of outdoor activity, Endomondo lets you easily keep tabs on key stats including speed, distance and calories burned. Audio feedback is supported, and there’s an excellent tablet layout for owners of larger devices.

Runner-up: My Fitness Pal

THE BEST ANDROID KIDS APP OF 2013

PBS Parents Play & Learn

A simple and easy-to-use app for children. While it doesn't combine all your favorite PBS Kids shows, it has a wealth of content to keep youngsters occupied.

Runner-up: Zoodles

THE BEST ANDROID MUSIC OR AUDIO APP OF 2013

Google Play Music

With the addition of limitless streaming through All Access, Google’s homegrown music application has become the best way to enjoy your music on your Android phone or tablet.

Runner-up: Spotify

THE BEST ANDROID NEWS OR READING APP OF 2013

Flipboard

Flipboard remains the king of casual content consumption apps, arranging your social updates, news and other stuff into an easily-thumbable digital book.

Runner-up: Feedly

THE BEST ANDROID PHOTOGRAPHY OR VIDEO APP OF 2013

YouTube

As well as offering a vast library of cat videos and other watchables, YouTube for Android also lets you easily upload your own stuff to the world’s biggest video network.

Runner-up: Instagram

THE BEST ANDROID PRODUCTIVITY APP OF 2013

Google Drive

When you need to be productive on your phone and tablet, it’s hard to beat Google Drive for quick access to files and a solid interface for editing documents.

Runner-up: Google Keep

THE BEST ANDROID SOCIAL OR COMMUNICATIONS APP OF 2013

Google+

Google+ is becoming more pervasive across all of Google’s platforms, and the excellent G+ Android app has done a great job of getting us hooked into Google’s social network.

Runner-up: Facebook

THE BEST ANDROID SPORTS APP OF 2013

ESPN SportsCenter

ESPN’s SportsCenter integrates live score updates, videos, analysis and team-specific news into a great-looking app with a tabbed, card-centric layout.

Runner-up: theScore

THE BEST ANDROID UTILITY APP OF 2013

ES File Explorer

A veteran Android file manager, ES can juggle not only files on your internal storage, but also apps, cloud storage and local file stores.

Runner-up: Titanium Backup

GAMES

THE BEST OVERALL ANDROID GAME OF 2013

Candy Crush Saga

A guilty pleasure for many of us, Candy Crush Saga combines color-matching puzzles with a huge number of levels and social integration, including online leaderboards.

Runner-up: Asphalt 8

THE BEST ANDROID PUZZLE GAME OF 2013

Candy Crush Saga

Runner-up: Dots

THE BEST ANDROID RACING GAME OF 2013

Asphalt 8: Airborne

Asphalt 8 is easily one of the best arcade racers released on Android this year, with gorgeous graphics, a huge number of tracks and licensed vehicles.

Runner-up: Need for Speed Most Wanted

THE BEST ANDROID RPG OF 2013

Dead Trigger 2

Who said zombies were on the way out? Madfinger's Dead Trigger 2 brings global zombie warfare to Android phones and tablets, with console-quality visuals and a huge loadout of weapons.

Runner-up: Final Fantasy IV

THE BEST ANDROID SHOOTER GAME OF 2013

Dead Trigger 2

Runner-up: Call of Duty: Strike Team

THE BEST ANDROID STRATEGY GAME OF 2013

Plants vs. Zombies 2

Plants vs. Zombies 2 takes powerful new fauna and pits them against even more devious undead foes in the most fun and accessible “tower defense” style title of the year.

Runner-up: Ingress

TECHNICAL

THE BEST-DESIGNED ANDROID APP OF 2013

Google+

With fast performance, a sleek, a quick, scrolling layout and speedy navigation, the Google+ app for Android is our readers’ choice for the best-designed app out there.

Runner-up: Flipboard

THE MOST INNOVATIVE ANDROID APP OF 2013

Google Now

There’s no doubt that Google’s predictive search tool is one of the most innovative mobile apps out there right now, tapping into the vast quantity of data associated with your Google account.

Runner-up: Chromecast

ACCESSORIES

THE BEST ANDROID CASE MANUFACTURER OF 2013

Otterbox

Android Central readers’ choice for heavy-duty accessories, Otterbox phone and tablet cases protect all your device’s vulnerable areas.

Runner-up: Spigen

THE BEST ANDROID CHARGER OR DOCK OF 2013

Nexus Wireless Charger

Google’s tiny second-ten Nexus wireless charger locks devices in places with its magnet, and comes with a second “Nexus”-branded wall charger.

Runner-up: Samsung Wireless Charging Pad

THE BEST ANDROID SMARTWATCH OF 2013

Pebble Smartwatch

The Pebble smartwatch shows the potential of wearable computing, putting dynamic, info-rich watch faces, notifications, music controls and more on your wrist.

Runner-up: Samsung Galaxy Gear

THE BEST MOBILE SPEAKER OF 2013

Bose SoundLink II

The Bose SoundLink II isn’t cheap, but it does boast thunderous sound quality for a small speaker, and offers easy connection to Android, iOS and BlackBerry devices via Bluetooth.

Runner-up: Jawbone Big Jambox

STORIES

THE BIGGEST ANDROID HEADSCRATCHER OF 2013

BBM Launch

First it was there, then it wasn’t, then it was delayed, then finally it launched. BlackBerry Messenger for Android didn’t have an easy path to release, but the company does claim it’s picked up 40 million new registrations in the first 60 days since launch.

Runner-up: Slow over-the-air rollouts

CONCLUSION

That's that for the most popular picks of 2013. Did anything surprise you? What would you have liked to see make the cut? Considering these trends, what kinds of surprises can we look forward to in 2014?

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