Android Central Awards

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the 2012 edition of the Android Central Editor's Choice Awards. Tomorrow is your day, when we list your picks for the year's best smartphone, tablet and apps. But right now, it's our turn. Our choices might be the same as yours. Or they might not. Either way, it's cool. That's part of what makes Android great. Diff'rent strokes and all.

So sit back, relax, and have a gander at what we think some of the best of 2012 entailed. And gear up for a bad-ass 2013.

Best phone: Samsung Galaxy S3

Galaxy S3

There’s a good reason Samsung’s shifted tens of millions of Galaxy S3s worldwide -- it’s the best all-round Android smartphone, and it’s available on countless 3G and 4G carriers around the world. The recent update to Jelly Bean has also given the S3 a new lease of life, and if you’re lucky, you’ll have gotten even more software goodies as part of the latest “premium suite.”

The hardware may have been eclipsed by some late 2012 offerings, but the fact remains that for most of the year, the Galaxy S3 was the top dog in terms of specs. In the U.S. you’ve got Qualcomm’s proven Snapdragon S4. Internationally, Samsung’s beastly quad-core Exynos runs the show. Either way, there’s plenty of power to go around. Factor in the exceptional 8MP camera, the thin, light chassis and it’s easy to see why the S3 is our pick of 2012.

Runner-up: LG Nexus 4. The Nexus 4’s limited availability and lack of any real 4G LTE support (so far) are the main reasons for it missing out on the top spot, but make no mistake, it’s still a phenomenal handset. Software purists will appreciate the silky-smooth, vanilla Android 4.2 UI, and the gapless IPS display is among the best out there. The Nexus 4’s build quality is also top-notch, with a classy glass-plated back, reflective front trim and grippy soft touch area to avoid slippage. It’s an incredibly well-designed phone, and if LTE isn’t an issue for you, you should definitely take a look.

Best large-form phone: Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Galaxy Note II

There’s still some disagreement among our editors as to whether the Galaxy Note 2 is truly a mainstream device. You could argue that a phone that sells five million units in a couple of months is anything but niche, but regardless, the Note 2 belongs in a different category. The Note series has seen little in the way of competition this past year, but Samsung pulled out all the stops regardless, and gave us a device that wasn’t just exceptionally fast, but supremely useful. New software features like multi-window blur the boundaries between smartphones and traditional computers, and the improved S Pen stylus brings about new ways to interact with a touchscreen device.

We think it’ll be awhile before the average consumer can be convinced to pick up a 5.5-inch smartphone, but if you’re in the market for a larger device, the Note 2 is unequaled.

Best small tablet: ASUS Nexus 7

Nexus 7

You could make a very strong argument that the  Nexus 7 was the first Android tablet to be met with any kind of mainstream success. The 7-inch ASUS-built slate proved that you don’t have to break the bank to get hold of a top-notch tablet computer, and played its role in forcing the incumbent Apple to sit up and take notice of the “small form factor” tablet space. The Nexus 7 was well-built, fast enough and most importantly cheap -- so much so that millions of consumers snapped it up on Google Play and in brick-and-mortar stores in the second half of 2012. At the end of the year, the Nexus 7 remains one of the best 7-inch tablets around, and arguably the most successful Nexus device to date.

What’s more, the new 32GB and 3G-capable versions make this device even more versatile than ever. We think it’ll be some time before you can get a better tablet for 200 bucks.

Runner-up: Kindle Fire HD (8.9-inch). It’s impossible to ignore Amazon’s Kindle Fire in the small tablet category. If you’re locked into Amazon’s ecosystem then the latest version, the Kindle Fire HD has plenty to offer. Provided you live in the right place, Amazon’s library of music, TV and movies will have just about all your entertainment needs taken care of, despite the obvious lack of Google Play certification. That’s the other side of the Kindle Fire equation -- there’s no official Google app support, as it runs a “forked” build of Android.

On the hardware side, the Kindle Fire HD packs a Nexus 7-beating 1920x1080 display, along with great build quality. It’s a tablet that’s all about content consumption, and if you pick up a Kindle Fire HD, you’re buying a high-resolution window into Amazon’s content ecosystem.

Best large tablet: Samsung Nexus 10

Nexus 10

A winning combination of processor horsepower, display fidelity and build quality sees Samsung and Google’s Nexus 10 take the top spot in the large tablet category. But really, the 10-inch Nexus tablet is all about the specs. It incorporates a beautiful 2560x1600 PLS LCD display -- the highest resolution we’ve seen on any Android tablet, even sharper than the iPad’s retina display. It’s also the first Android device to run Samsung’s Exynos 5 Dual CPU, based on the ARM Cortex A15 architecture, with a beastly Mali T604 GPU to power the high-res display.

That translates into a smooth gaming experience and wonderfully crisp HD movie playback, making the Nexus 10 a better content consumption device than just about any other Android tablet. There’s also the bonus of running the latest version of vanilla Android 4.2.

Runner-up: ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity. The ASUS Transformer series was an early android tablet success story, and the latest version, the Transformer Pad Infinity, is the most refined yet. A 10-inch tablet with a keyboard dock, the Infinity improves upon earlier efforts with a high-res 1080p display, an aluminum chassis and faster Tegra 3 T33 CPU. The price closely tracks that of the Nexus 10, but the Transformer Pad Infinity’s hardware configuration means it’s more about content creation than consumption. The full-fledged QWERTY keyboard and bundled apps make it a great little machine for browsing and blogging.

Like the Galaxy Note 2, it’s an unconventional device, but one that fills a particular niche well enough. It also comes with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, meaning you’ll get improved performance thanks to Project Butter.

Biggest disappointment: Google Nexus Q

Android Central

Let’s be honest here, the Nexus Q, as we saw it originally at Google I/O, was the wrong product at the wrong price point. You knew it, we knew it, Google knew it, and pulled it from sale almost immediately. (OK, we're still tying to convince Phil.) So if you own one, you won’t have paid any money for it -- either you got it free in a Google I/O swag bag, or free for placing a pre-order on Google Play. In either case, you own what will probably soon become a collectors’ item.

But remember that this glowing tungsten orb was originally supposed to retail for $300, then remember that all it does is play stuff from Google Play. And glow ominously. The hardware inside the Q -- essentially a Galaxy Nexus/Pandaboard setup -- was woefully underused. There was no dedicated UI as such, and even basic functions like DLNA streaming weren’t supported. Too expensive for hobbyists, and too limited for the mainstream market, the Nexus Q was rightly mothballed. Hopefully we’ll see a reimagined, more useful, less pricey Q in the new year.

Runner-up: Nexus 4/10 ordering process fustercluckIt’s the morning of Nov. 13, 2012. Having followed the weeks of rumors and speculation, and the recent wave of reviews, you’ve got a bundle of notes ready to give to Google in exchange for a shiny new Nexus 4 or Nexus 10. But you can’t. The Google Play Store keeps emptying your basket, Google Wallet times out when you try to enter payment info, and if you’re lucky enough to successfully place an order, it’s a crapshoot as to when your new shiny will actually arrive.

On Nexus launch day, limited stock and a myriad of technical problems led to a toxic buying experience for early adopters. As we pointed out at the time, Google can handle all our music, documents, email, web searches, calendar appointments, mapping info, navigation requirements, app purchases, product price comparisons, YouTube videos and instant web page translations, but in 2012 it repeatedly failed to let customers buy a product. It can build a car that drives itself and never crashes, but it can’t reliably sell you a telephone over the internet. That needs to change if Google is to compete with the likes of Apple in this area.

Best game: Need for Speed: Most Wanted

Android gaming has come into its own in 2012, thanks to the emergence of more powerful handsets, and better support from big-name publishers like EA. And it was EA that brought us one of the best-looking and most polished titles of the year -- Need for Speed: Most Wanted. It’s an arcade racer that’s faithful to the console original, and one of the few mobile games to really put the high-end hardware in devices like the Galaxy Note 2 and HTC One X+ to use. There’s also a ton of content to get stuck into, including dozens of tracks and over 40 vehicles.

Runners-up: There’s no shortage of awesome Android games out there, which makes it particularly difficult to pick a single runner-up in this category. Instead, here are a few of our favorites from the past twelve months --
Granny Smith, Plague Inc, Sonic CD, Angry Birds Space, or any of the excellent MMOs from Spacetime Studios.

Best Twitter app: Falcon Pro

Falcon Pro

Developing a popular Twitter app can be a thankless task. The current crop of Twitter clients for Android (and other platforms) face a hard limit of 100,000 users unless Twitter approves a higher limit. Nevertheless, we’ve seen more high-quality clients than ever emerge for Android in 2012, and our favorite is Falcon Pro by Joaquim Vergès. Falcon combines a simple, clean design with fast, smooth scrolling and easy access to frequently-used features like DMs, lists and settings through side-out menus. Individual tweets themselves are also easy to view with thanks to inline image and web previews.

Runner-up: Tweet Lanes. Another of our favorite Twitter clients is Chris Lacy’s Tweet lanes, which incorporates Android’s “holo” design language and adheres to the Android design guidelines. Although it’s no longer under active development, Tweet lanes already features multiple account support, Twitter spam controls and inline image previews, making it a viable alternative to the aging official Twitter app, or any other competitor. Best of all, it’s available free of charge on Google Play.

Best photo app: Instagram

Android Central

Despite the recent ructions over Instagram’s terms of service, it’s still the best way to trim, tweak and filter your shots and get them out to your friends on various social networks. Instagram for Android keeps things pretty simple on the UI side, but there’s something to be said for not cluttering things up too much. That simplicity is present in the photo-taking and editing process too, with twenty filters that can give photos a new lease of life. It’s not going to turn you into a professional photographer, nor can it turn a crappy photo into a masterpiece, but it’s more than capable of turning everyday shots into something interesting and worth sharing.

Runner-up: Perfectly Clear. Easy to use, with plenty of options for toning photos on the fly.

Best travel app: Tripit

Android Central

Tripit remains indispensable to any frequent traveler. And not just flyers -- it keeps track of any booking, rental or ticket purchase. Plus, Tripit's been creeping in on other applications' territory with real-time flight tracking. We travel a lot here at Android Central and can't for a minute imagine doing it without Tripit.

Runner-up: Google Now. If you travel a lot, particularly within the United States, Google Now’s predictive information gathering can be indispensable. No matter how you’re traveling, the new Google Search app brings in relevant information in notification and “card” form. On (or under) the ground, there’s timely public transit information for many cities, and “time to leave” notifications based on local traffic conditions if you’re driving. If you’re flying, Google Now will pull in flight info from recent Google searches, including departure times and gate numbers. And given the expandable nature of the app, it’s sure to be expanded even further in 2013.

Best web browser: Google Chrome

Chrome

From Google’s perspective, Android is all about hooking users into its app and content ecosystems. At the heart of that effort is Google Chrome, the browser that’s becoming the de facto standard for phones and tablets running Android 4.0 and above. Chrome hasn’t changed a whole lot since the first beta reached us in early February, but it has improved plenty where it really counts -- performance and stability.

With Chrome, Android phones get a simple, clutter-free design; on tablets, it’s more or less identical to the desktop browser. Used on a modern phone, Chrome is just as fast as the stock Android browser, and it offers plenty of new tricks to make it the more attractive browser choice. There’s the standard Chrome bookmark syncing, easy tab-switching by swiping from the edge of the screen, and some really clever stuff like the pre-fetching of web pages on Wifi.

Best keyboard app: SwiftKey Flow (beta)

Though technically still in beta, we’ve been impressed enough by SwiftKey Flow to include it in our editors’ choice awards. SwiftKey Flow includes all the personalized predictive features of the previous SwiftKey 3, but expands upon this with trace-based typing. The current beta even includes the ability to type multiple words continuously, by swiping down towards the space bar in between words. SwiftKey’s predictive intelligence makes its new Flow keyboard one of the fastest ways to type on Android, and that’s why it’s our favorite keyboard for a second year running.

Runner-up: Swype BetaWhile we’re praising SwiftKey Flow, let’s not forget the original trace keyboard, Nuance’s Swype. Swype isn’t available on Google Play, so you’ll have to jump through a few hoops in order to get the current beta -- or alternatively pick up a phone with it preinstalled.
In any case, the latest Swype betas have included speech input through Dragon Dictation, as well as SwiftKey-style personalization based on social network and email info. It’s arguably less visible than SwiftKey, but Swype is a solid contender nonetheless.

Best podcast app: Pocket Casts

Android Central

A good podcatcher needs to do two things well: Find podcasts, and play podcasts. Pocket Casts continues to do both better than any other app, in our opinion. It has the all-important feature of syncing with your Google Reader feeds, which means our subscriptions survive from one phone or ROM to another. The app doesn't conform to strict Holo guidelines, which we'd like to see a little more of, but it's also got character of its own.

Runner-up: Beyond Pod. A longtime favorite of many an Android user, it remains a viable alternative and an extremely usable podcatcher.

Best new Google feature: Google Now

Now

We’ve already talked a bit about how Google Now can help with travel plans, and that’s one of its most useful areas. But it’s just a small part of the predictive search picture. Google Now goes to the heart of what Google is -- an information company.  A feature of the new Google Search app for Android, Google Now seeks to make sense of all the information the company has at its disposal, whether it’s calendar, email, location history, traffic and search history, and use it to present timely, useful information.

Whether it’s local transit and traffic info, friends’ birthdays, tracking info for an upcoming delivery, time zone and exchange rate info when traveling, sports scores or anything else, Google Now is a feature that only Google could offer. Some may see it as creepy, but it’s less ominous if you understand how it works.

Google Now’s capabilities are being expanded all the time, and we’re looking forward to seeing where Google takes it in 2013.

Runner-up: Google Play. With all the growth and expansion of Google Play, it’s easy to forget that just ten months ago it was still a disparate collection of services -- Android Market, Google Music, Google Movies and Google Books. Play Magazines only emerged this summer at I/O, and until recently most of the cool stuff was limited to customers the U.S. Looking back over the past year, the growth of Google Play has been staggering. There are more apps than ever on the Google Play Store, which is now outpacing Apple’s app store. Important services like Music, Movies and Magazines are now available in Europe, and Warner artists are finally available through Google Play Music.
With strong content ecosystems on Apple and Amazon devices, not to mention Microsoft getting into the fray with its Xbox services, Google needed to step up to the plate in 2012, and that’s exactly what it’s done with Google Play.

That's it for our 2012 Editor's Choice awards. But the new year is sure to bring even more awesome Android hardware and software. We're kicking it off with CES next week, followed by Mobile World Congress in February. Stick with us for full coverage of everything Android as it happens in 2013!

 
There are 60 comments

icu says:

Merry New Year!

Can't say there is many surprises here, perhaps that's just because I concur with just about the entire list.

DJ Flush says:

Not the Google Chrome, I think it's the worst browser ever!
http://androidome.com/

mwara244 says:

Would love for Google to import some type of Flash substitute so people can watch videos for free again. One of the top selling points of Android when it came out was the Flash capabilities to view the internet in it's entirety. As android advances Flash is gonna get worse and worse with no support, and adobe won't have html5 ready till somewhere between 2014-2020 says the tech blogs, not to mention how long it will take for everyone to implement it.

dtroiter7 says:

Huh? For one, Google can't just ''import'' some type of Flash ''substitute''...nor would they want to. Flash was never designed to run on mobile and as a Flash developer since its beginning....I'm happy to see it put to rest.
HTML5 is the future and I don't know what tech blogs you're reading, but Abobe has nothing to do with it or when it's ''ready''. They only create tools like Adobe Edge, which will make HTML5 development easier...which I'm already using.
True, the web standard for HTML5 won't be finalized for a while...but 2020? That's WAY off base. Plus, that's only for PC browsers....not mobile. Mobile is already ahead of the game and many ''apps'' are just HTML5 code with a hidden browser.
Any website you see today using the Flash .FLV format to still display video will migrate to the HTML5 standard way of embedding video without the use of external plugins, or they won't have users coming back. The future is now,

nimrodity says:

Chrome being the best browser is a joke to me.
As fast as stock?c'mon,you don't mean thaf for real.i would even say its the slowest avaiable browser out there.Far away from butter for sure and the control are absolutely uncomfortable to use

Caldera says:

I like Chrome, but it really is a dog in the performance department. It's silky smooth, like sandpaper.

MERCDROID says:

Lol When I first used Chrome on my Windows 7 laptop (when I had it), it was the absolute worst experience ever: it lagged, stuttered, and froze my computer numerous times. Then one day, it worked amazing; and it continued to be amazing even after I gave the computer to my little brother.

I started using Chrome on my phone after the experience on the laptop improved dramatically: it is way faster than the stock browser, and the stock browser is fast.

"It's silky smooth, like sandpaper." ---Best line ever

RunSilent23 says:

I used to think that too until one of the performance updates. I tried it on my GSIII and now Chrome is now my daily driver. I tried the stock browser again after the Jelly Bean update (Verizon) but speed is a toss-up between the two. Since I like the Chrome interface better, that's what I use.

What Android phone have you tried Chrome on?

HeneryH says:

Until Chrome allows AdBlock Plus or similar add-on it will never be my browser.

Firefox Mobile + AdBlockPlus for me.

qwick says:

Adaway pretty much takes care of advertisements in Chrome Browser (as well as ads in all your apps).

You probably already know this but, just in case you don't. Root is required however, which may be the reason you aren't using it.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.adaway&feature=nav_res...

Agree with everything on the list here, good job guys!

mwara244 says:

.

mwara244 says:

Chrome is only fast because of the lack of Flash, stopping flash ads on every webpage that slows down loading. Would be nice if Google could build Flash updates for mobile to view all the internet vids again, one of the top selling points of android when it came out. Html5 will not be ready till 2014-2020 + time it will take for all sites to adapt it. Sucks to have a tablet or phone to access internet and not the videos.

Internet Explorer 10 is really fast. Microsoft finally stepped up their game.

patruns says:

This is the Android Central Awards. Do you know of a version of IE 10 runing on Android?

MERCDROID says:

LIAR!!! Pictures or it didn't happen lol

briankariu says:

Ha ha wish there was a like button, coz 1,000,000+ likes!

planoman says:

I have a lot of this gear! AC must be rubbing off on me! Happy New Year everyone!

taha24 says:

lol @ GS3 being a better phone than the Nexus 4. I don't even know what "availability" has to do with it being used as a reason the N4 isn't the best phone. As for LTE, as long as I get fast enough HSPA+ I'll take the lack of LTE over the lack of timely Android updates and not having to deal with Touchwiz.

jaymars says:

Yes, because if you hate TouchWiz, clearly everyone does.

Orion78 says:

Lol@you think otherwise. The GS3 made the biggest impact in 2012 and its clearly a better phone. How's the sour grapes?

bearballz72 says:

C'mon, only 16gb of memory and no LTE? That's a deal killer for many people. Again like the article said, many phones that have been released since Fall have better specs but the SIII was a game changer for Samsung.

Plus the numbers don't lie, Samsung have sold a crap load of SIII's and most people are pretty satisfied with it.

cooperaaaron says:

After coming from a T-Mobile Comet, 8 GB and no LTE does NOT matter to me, lol. I finally have the best phone out there, with NO problems getting updates or other issues whatsoever. I am a Nexus 4 fan and I get great speeds where I am located. As far as the storage is concerned, I don't use much... I had a 16 GB card and used only 2 GB, so I am comfortable with the 8 GB that I have... Works for me, and me only.

MERCDROID says:

Availability is everything: If the Nexus 4 had only been available in China, would you're answer still be the same? The Galaxy S3 launched all over the world as the same phone. Other than some of the internals, the phone is largely undifferentiated across continents.

For Android, this is huge. Why? Because one of the biggest arguments against Android is fragmentation; fragmentation being a two-fold problem: 1) Different versions of Android still in the wild. 2) Each carrier having modified versions of what is supposed to be the same phone everywhere. The Galaxy S3 launching as the same phone everywhere sets the stage for other OEMs to do the same; and that is a step towards defeating fragmentation.

LOL the LGOG is a hundred times better than the Samsung GS3 and only a little better than the Nexus 4. I have no idea why no one knows about it. It's basically a Nexus 4 with a micro sd card slot and LTE. And imho a nicer design and a way better UI than touchwiz. Only negative is no JB yet and it probably won't be updated past Key Lime Pie. But that's it. It's easily the fastest phone on the market.

speculatrix says:

I am finding Google listen is just about adequate for podcast consumption and a pain to transfer between phones.
I did try pocket casts years ago when it was free app of the day on Amazon, but they decided Amazon's terms were unreasonable and stopped updates.
I will strongly consider the newest version given ACommunity's award.

icebike says:

Wait, I thought Google Listen was dead?

I Jumped on Pocket Casts the day the news came out and haven't looked back. Its got a few minor warts, but mostly it is awesome, and it imported all my listen subscriptions.

It just isn't being supported with updates anymore, but still works for those using it. It can also still be sideloaded for those still wanting it.

JobiWan144 says:

Also try Podkicker. It's free, and it does everything I need it to do (i.e. listen to the AC podcast via Google Reader). It isn't Holo-compliant and probably doesn't have every feature the paid podcatchers have, but it's simple, free, and it works.

bugz_92 says:

Chrome browser sucks, we all love its features but if it does not run smoothly then its a piece of crap. The stock browser is still the way to go.

moosc says:

Google has eliminated the stock browser. Going forward it's all chrome.

icebike says:

Well here's hoping you are wrong, or that Chrome learns to zoom text with re-wrap and grows a "read" button like stock. I find Chrome almost unusable for reading sites that use smaller text. Compare This Page in Chrome and Stock. Then Zoom the text up in both. Chrome needs some work.

bigga85 says:

Dolphin browser is pretty good to me. Chrome load way to slow

drewC says:

+1
I meant to mention Dolphin HD in my comment as well. Definitely faster than Chrome.

Vacmfuzzy says:

Big Dolphin fan myself; does everything i need w/ease

treb1797 says:

Chrome is a big battery killer as well.

OffSpot2 says:

I will flip my tail once for the Dolphin as well...

drewC says:

I have no problem with SGSIII being the best Android phone in 2012. Android is about choice, and with SGSIII, the consumer can get it on almost every major carrier not just in the US but in the world. Don't like Touchwiz? Root it and run a custom ROM, or if you're not the tinkering type don't buy it. Get a Nexus 4 instead, if you can get one. There are a lot of factors going into deciding the "best phone" category, I personally think AC is spot on. Removable battery, microSD support (even though Google may disagree), freedom of carrier (HSPA+ or LTE), solid performance, and availability, did it for me. Don't get me wrong, I still hate TW as much as the next guy, and I love my Nexus 4. However, taken everything into consideration, SGSIII takes the title.

I don't agree that SwiftKey Flow beta is the best keyboard. The stock 4.2 keyboard is just as good, if not better. For me, SwiftKey Flow lags just a tiny bit. Google has finally introduced tracing input method in its stock KB, as well as intelligent prediction. Although, I have to admit SwiftKey's prediction is somewhat creepily accurate. So advanced, sometimes I barely have to type anything to complete a sentence.

Those are my thoughts on two categories above.

olorin says:

I like SwiftKey Flow, but it's still very much in beta. Lots of issues on my GS2. I still use it as my default keyboard, but there are times I have to switch to another keyboard.

Synycalwon says:

After a month with the Note 2, I can never go back to anything smaller. This was emphasized a few days ago when breaking out my old Thunderbolt. It was surreal how small it felt. It was like a toy phone. The more people experience this, the more mainstream larger phones will become! :D

As to Google Now, I fully understand how it works and still find it creepy. Besides, I find it much more effective to use other apps and/or the browser to actively find info I want. And on that note; IMO Chrome sucks. The AOSP browser still runs circles around it.

icebike says:

Agreed, (even tho I don't have a note2 yet) I find it amazing how there used to be this magical 4.2 inch line in the sand, after 4.0 line was crossed after the 3.8 inch line was crossed, etc

The market is deciding that for the pocket/purse, bigger screens are leaving the small screens behind.

MERCDROID says:

+9000

Les Vegas says:

I love my galaxy S3 especially since I got a extended battery to go with it, my browser of choice is Dolphin HD I had chrome but found dolphin to be a lot better and as far as keyboards go I just downloaded Kii a couple weeks ago and haven't looked back since! its killing every keyboard I had before and I damn near tried them all

patrixl says:

Hey thanks, I never heard about Kii before and I'm trying it now, so far so good! Supports all languages I use, so I'll try it out for a while!

crowrb29 says:

Chrome fixed itself in november. Hopefully there will be updates again soon. Its fast and doesn't crash. Its by and large the best browser I have used on my nexus 7. I really like firefox as well but it has quite a few instability issues and I really dislike the way it handles embedded videos as well as pop out videos.

Great pick with the Nexus 10. I would like to mention something just about every write up misses, the speakers! These forward facing bad boys kick out some serious sound. No more cupping your hands to redirect sound, great big sound for YouTube and games.
I still like Doggcatcher for podcasts. Hopefully there cloud syncing between devices comes out of beta soon and that would really help with the ROM/device switchers.
Happy 2013 everybody!

About the only change I would make on a personal list would be adding Snapseed to the Photo App category.

But that is more of a true photo editing app, and not something for people to just quickly take a photo and add a quick filter to like Instagram does.

I have seen many of our female friends switch from their iPhones to the Galaxy SIII. Too me, that alone speaks volumes to how far Samsung helped bring Android to the forefront in 2012.

I am so very excited for what 2013 has to offer us mobile tech fans.

OffSpot2 says:

Good calls gang! I have most everything here that I would want. I need to checkout Pocket Cast. Dogg Catcher is all I know, buy I am ready to learn new tricks. (Phil mentioned a few weeks ago in a podcast that Dogg Catcher was doing a few things that he didn`t like. I wonder what those things were...) Thank you AC for helping me feel comfortabel and confident in a world that is moving so fast!

todd.deland says:

Falcon pro is awesome, what are they going to do about the twitter user limit though?

Cubfan says:

No way Pocketcasts or BeyondPod beat Doggcatcher. I own all three and Doggcatcher is the one that stays on my phone.

TheCube says:

If you just want a REALLy simple podcatcher with FULL Holo UI, google Volksemfanger. Simple and beautiful.

mickey4mice says:

Falcon Pro is fast but lacks features, I still don't know how to find saved searches and lists after spending 2 days with the app. Tweetings for Twitter has really grown on me, lots of features and customizations and dev has been updating it almost daily. The only problem is sometimes it fails to refresh on API disconnection; once they iron out the bugs though, it could really dethrone Twicca as the best Android twitter app.

moosc says:

To get to your list in falcon swipe from right side of the screen. Still love plume for list though. Add which list you like and you can swipe between them. That feature made me leave twiccca

1huckabuck says:

Omg, "fustercluck" haha.

DWR_31 says:

As the proud owner of a Sprint GSIII I can only say that while picking up this phone at the retailer, I leaned over to play with the GNote2, and I had to curse myself for not putting aside $200 more.
Oh well, I'll just buy a C-Pen and be happy.

Jamma3 says:

Sorry the Nexus 4 wins best phone hands down.
Having an LTE phone on Verizon or Sprint is useless unless you're in an LTE area and last I checked it didn't cover the entire USA so million year old CDMA would be your top speed. What a waste.
However if you live in Canada the Nexus 4 is LTE and I know people that use it and battery doesn't die in 3 hours like some are reporting.
Touchwiz really.

RunSilent23 says:

...but if you DO live in a LTE area (which in Verizon's case, the majority of us do), the Nexus 4 loses a lot of appeal. And Samsung has stepped up its game with the latest iteration of Touchwiz. I'll bet that a lot of people would miss many of the features/UI if they switched to stock Android.

That's all to say that both phones are awesome. But the reality is the GSIII has had (and will continue to have) the most impact. The Nexus line is targeted to a niche audience and will have a niche impact.

SpookDroid says:

Instagram best photo app?!! REALLY??!! COME ON!!! Pixlr Express, hello??!!

Wow, can't say I agree with many of your software choices, except perhaps Chrome. Falcon Pro is a beat product at best, it's missing way too many features of a mature twitter client to be considered the best of 2012. SwiftKey Flow (beta) does nothing better than Swype (beta), and some things worse (like not allowing flow/swiping in certain input boxes). Pixlr tops Instagram unless you're a hipster, and I remember trying pocketcasts and running back to BeyondPod pretty quickly.

At least you guys called it right with the hardware (S3 and Note2).

ysstog says:

I'm with you. I can't believe the choice of Swiftkey Flow over Swype. Those two keyboards are like night and day. Flow doesn't even work in the majority of places you'd use a keyboard! I can't imagine the people who made this choice have tried both. Swype's extra features for cut and paste, bringing up number pad, changing Case, and other things make it miles better than Flow. It also has considerably better battery management.

GreyCelt says:

I can't say that I've tried Chrome recently so it may be better now, but when I was using it on my Nexus 7 it was probably the worst browser experience I've had. My everyday browser is now, and has been for a while, HoloWeb. It's not in the playstore...google it...you'll find it.