Most popular stories of 2012

It's time for a quick look back at the year that was. Frankly, we don't remember most of it. Apparently a year ago or so we were in Las Vegas for CES. Then Barcelona for Mobile World Congress. Then London for the Samsung Galaxy S3. Then New Orleans for CTIA. And San Francisco for Google IO. And Seoul for the LG Optimus G. And San Diego for MobileCON. And any number of other singletons in between. So, yeah. It was a busy year.

After the break we've got a look at some of our most popular stories of 2012. Not necessarily the most important. Not necessarily our favorites. But in terms of page views (we now have to get a second set of hands to count those on, by the way), this is what you guys and gals -- our dear readers -- were peeping over the past 12 months. Of course, it's a little biased toward older stories, but there are some rather recent ones tucked away in there, too. Enjoy!

1. Samsung Galaxy S3 versus the iPhone 5

Who doesn't love a straight specs comparison? The Samsung Galaxy S3 was a few months old by the time the iPhone 5 was unveiled, but it still was the hot phone on campus -- and remains so to this day. Read the full story.

2. LG Nexus 4 review

There was a little bit of inside baseball drama leading up to our review of this year's Nexus phone, but that just makes things that much more exciting. What we ended up with was, IMHO, one my better reviews. The phone's not without its faults, and it's not for everybody. But you folks made it our No. 2 story of the year. Read the full review.

3. Why Nexus devices have no SD card

This is been a bitter pill for many to swallow, but it's just the way things are now -- Nexus devices will not have an SD card. There are a couple reasons for that, and Jerry Hildenbrand does a masterful job explaining why. Now if only he could get everyone to accept that it's not going to change. Read the full story.

4. How to use a USB flash drive with the Nexus 7

Speaking of Nexus devices without expandable storage, another new disappointment is that the latest crop of Nexus devices don't let you connect USB flash drives out of the box. That was a big, erm, sticking point in regards to the Nexus 7 tablet, which initially launched with either 8 or 16 gigabytes of storage -- not all that much by today's standards. But with a rooted Nexus 7 and a little app called Stickmount, it's easy to get the GBs back on the N7. Read the full story.

5. Samsung Galaxy S3 review

Easily the top phone of the year, right? Alex Dobie and I climbed all over this guy at the announcement in London in May, and Alex produced what I think is our best review of the year a month later. We reviewed a few of the U.S. versions of the GS3, but the hardware is nearly identical to what Alex took a look at on the European side. Read the full review.

6. Is my phone rooted?

This one's from 2011, actually. From early 2011. But that just shows its importance. Gaining root access to your phone is still a dark art for some folks, and that's OK. Not everybody wants to know how and why things work -- they just want to be able to use their phone as they seem fit. So after all those command lines and one-click programs, how do you tell if your phone's rooted? Jerry Hildenbrand walked us through it. Read the full story.

7. Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

This phone's bigger than the Galaxy S3! Well, of course it is. It's friggin' 5.5 inches. But it's not just a bigger version of the GS3. Samsung improved on the pen-input technology and added in some unique multitasking for a device that, despite its size (or maybe because of it) has been a top-seller of 2012. Read the full review.

8. New features in Samsung Galaxy S3 Jelly Bean upd​ate

For as awesome as the Galaxy S3 might be, it did launch with Ice Cream Sandwich. That's not the phone's fault -- Jelly Bean hadn't been announced yet. So, updates were in order, and Samsung got them out relatively quickly. Alex walked us through the improvements to Android 4.1 on the GS3, including a redesigned notification shade, file transfers and the task switcher. Read the full story.

9. MTP: What it is, why we use it, and how to set it up

This one's from late 2011, but given that we really didn't get any Ice Cream Sandwich phones here in the U.S. until 2012, it's not too surprising a story on our list. Google changed the way Android natively connects to computers over USB. Not all manufacturers adopted the change to MTP (that's short for Media Transfer Protocol), but enough did for it to reach No. 9 on our list. Read the full story.

10. Why you'll never have the latest version of Android

We really don't get any great pleasure in this story -- but it's one we find ourselves repeating. A lot. Not every Android phone is going to get every major update. It's just the way things work. It's not always right, and it's not always fair. And it can be a crapshoot as to whether your shiny new phone will make the cut. We've been burned, too. Alex does a great job explaining things here. Read the full story.


Reader comments

Android Central's most popular stories of 2012


I was wondering about why no One Series mentions, nor the DNA. No wonder HTC is falling to the wayside, no one covers their phones anymore.

The Nexus 4 and the Nexus 7 are made by LG and ASUS, respectively; so the entire list isn't Samsung. And life is good =)

HTC falls to the wayside for poor dev support and a bloated OS skin, and locked down systems. Same goes for Moto. I'd buy an iPhone if I wanted a walled-garden device that I didn't want to customize and make my own. Or I'd get a pure Google device so I didn't need to tinker but could if I wished. Those give the best performance and options. Samsung got noticed for their pure Google devices, this made them very big in the Android arena. Samsung was the most dev friendly this year, and had some of the best features on devices. Watch for Sony rising next year. Both improved quality, and now the best dev support of any device, Sony will stand out. LG will need to improve quality for everything they make and get dev friendly while they have the spotlight if they wish to become a more desired name.

1. Say what you will about HTC Sense being "bloated" ("in need of software engineering" would be my assessment), but it's not locked down. I don't know where you're getting that idea. I could check the "unknown sources" box in the settings before I rooted my EVO LTE, and I had no trouble at all getting the bootloader unlocked via HTC Dev (and later via LazyPanda for S-Off). HTC devices (that aren't on Verizon) are NOT locked down.
2. Motorola Mobility is in a transitional state right now because of the Google acquisition. If you're on Verizon and don't care about tinkering (that's kind of redundant, isn't it?), the new Droid RAZR phones are, IMO, great alternatives to the Galaxy S III. Please distinguish between the old and new Motorolas. Their new skin is about as non-bloated as you can get while still adding useful features to vanilla Android. Also, they're locked down because Verizon has its knickers in a twist, not because Moto likes it that way. They released a bootloader unlocking tool kind of like HTC Dev this year, starting with the Photon Q 4G LTE and (IIRC) moving on to others. So Moto is only "locked down" if you're talking about Verizon.
3. Samsung has gotten noticed primarily for releasing 4 phones: The GSII, the GNote, the GSIII, and the GNote II. Maybe the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus helped make their successors better, but they didn't impact their reputation directly. These phones got noticed because Samsung advertises a lot and because they met many people's desires.
4. Samsung was not the most dev-friendly OEM this year; that would be Sony. Just ask XDA-developers.
5. Yes, LG should be more dev-friendly.