Andrew's Picks

We cover a whole lot of news here on Android Central, from phones and tablets to apps, accessories and a whole lot more. We put these products and services through their paces harder than most, so when something stands out enough to be used by one of the writers daily, it's usually the cream of the crop. Stick around after the break and see what I used throughout 2012.

Plume

Plume

I've already written about how I use Plume as my daily Twitter client, but I think it's worth repeating here as well. Throughout 2012, there have been numerous "flavor of the month" Twitter apps that come and go, but none have come anywhere close to making me leave Plume. It has the features and design I like -- even if that widget is a little outdated -- with absolutely no crashes or bugs. I expect Plume to be firmly planted on my homescreen for another year to come.

Galaxy Nexus

Galaxy Nexus

Yes, I know the Galaxy Nexus wasn't technically a 2012 gadget, but for the vast majority of us, the device didn't get into user's hands until 2012. It took me until January to finally let import prices come down enough to actually justify buying an unlocked GSM model, but when I finally did there was no looking back. The Galaxy Nexus wasn't the best in hardware specs even when it came out, but with regular software updates it has stood the test of time, remaining relevant even now at the end of 2012. I would have no problem using this device all the way through 2013.

Google+

Google+

This is kind of a two-for-one pick, for both the service and the Android apps. There's no doubt that 2012 was a year of really big steps in the quality of the Google+ user experience from all angles. The community has grown tremendously, especially among Android enthusiasts and readers of the site. Google has really given people many reasons to consider Google+ over (or at least concurrently with) Facebook and Twitter simply with the quality and rapid rate of improvement in their apps. They have added features and fixed issues consistently on Android phones, tablets and even iOS devices.

Starbucks

Starbucks

What's there to say about Starbucks that hasn't already been said? You either love it, hate it, or are indifferent. People in the "love it" camp like myself are really enjoying the improvements that have been made to the Starbucks app in 2012, from a move to a "holo" UI to the consistent bugfixes. The app has surely had its moments of crashy incompatibilities with the latest updates to Android, but there's still no other way I'll pay for my coffee whenever I'm in a store.

Google Play Music

Google Play Music

I was one of the first to get into Google Music back when it was a beta (original Xoom owners had an early look,) and "Google Play" didn't even exist yet. Since then, I've completely moved all of my music listening to the service on both my phones and computers. Google Play Music has seen big improvements in 2012 with a move to a new interface that fits with the latest Android design elements, not to mention some of the small but meaningful additions like gapless playback support. At this point I don't worry about music storage on my devices, because I know at any moment I can stream -- in acceptably high quality to boot -- any track in my music library.

And on to 2013 ...

Those are my highlights in the Android world for 2012 -- the apps, services and devices I use every day. So what are some of your picks for the best of the year?

 
There are 25 comments

TheWenger says:

Google Music getting gapless playback was the single thing I didn't like about it. Listening to movie soundtracks, long symphonies, or Pink Floyd was no fun before the update.

+1 to Galaxy Nexus. I still use mine and will be able to well until near the end of 2013 when my contract is up.

For me its big albums from Daft Punk that really benefit from gapless playback :P .

TheWenger says:

Meant to say "not having gapless playback was the single thing I didn't like about it."

masterpfa says:

I have to agree with you on the Galaxy nexus a more than capable phone

But for me a new gadget was on the horizon and I upgraded to the Nexus 4 (Still have the GNex for experimenting)

Google+ is one of my favourites too, just wish they would re-introduce the scrolling widget

Nice to see someone still giving the Galaxy Nexus some lovin'.

MERCDROID says:

+9000

codiusprime says:

As a long time Plume user I can say that Falcon makes Plume look like amateur hour. So so much better.

truenoob says:

Andrew, I like the wallpaper can you tell me the name so I can look it up and get it?

Got the wallpaper (and many other great ones) here: http://www.behance.net/gallery/iPad-Retina-Wallpaper/3516257

+1 on the Galaxy Nexus too.

Personally at the beginning of December (2012), after not liking the LG Nexus 4 and not wanting to spend $400 on the phone, I ended up buying a slightly used Samsung Galaxy Nexus off ebay that is in great condition and with the exception of the heat issue that seems to be mainly from wifi and cellular, I love the GNex. The hardware will last me at least through 2013 and hopefully well into 2014 before I need to upgrade. But for me, I think it was the timely Android updates that got me.

Of course those timely updates and cost is why I also bought a Nexus 7 too.

Orion78 says:

Still love my Galaxy Nexus. I didn't even want to bother with the Nexus 4. This year however I may want to add the GS4 or Note 3 to my collection.

MERCDROID says:

+9000 I won't bash the Nexus 4, but I am more interested in the Galaxy S4 at this point.

Kleany says:

where can i get that wallpaper on the first picture? also anyone know any good apps for high quality wallpapers? i wanna put this droid dna screen to good use!

Redsnk95 says:

PicSpeed Wallpapers has a very nice collection, I use them all the time.

icebike says:

As a Starbucks-aholic, I've found My Coffee Card Pro much better than the official Starbucks app.

Its 1/10th the size, and supports everything the Official (copycat) app supports. (Yup, this guy did it before Starbucks themselves did it.)

There is also a free version if you only have a single Starbucks card. (People give them to me as Gifts, so I end up having multiple cards). The Pro version handles multiple cards, the free doesn't.

This app never crashes.

misterfan says:

Could someone please tell me where to get that wallpaper in the main picture? I've seen it in numerous pics and would really love it. Or at least the name and I can search? :D

Thanks in advance!!

mr.wizard says:

+1 since it's gonna be the last nexus offering on Verizon, and with the abundance of custom roms available, I'm set till my contact is up

wonkman says:

Tasker!

Why doesn't this awesome app make anyone's most used list. Cuz it's complicated? Yes it is but it's worth the learning curve.

1) Turns my notifications on/off by time of day
2) Launches GPS when Maps is opened. GPS off when Maps closes
3) Turns off wifi when not near home/work cell towers (saves battery)
4) Turns on data when browser launched
5) Turns off data when near configured wifi
6) Launch player app when headphones plugged in

etc... this is a tiny fraction of what this amazing app can do. Doesn't require root for everything but for some things.

Looks interesting and probably worth the price so I may get it the next time it's on sale.

Kleany says:

dead link?

just wondering if you could tell me where you got the wallpaperin the picture

shamefulzero says:

i second this question!

Already dropped the link as a reply several comments up :) .

socratesman says:

Google Play Music is the greatest! I've been using it since beta and couldn't imagine using anything else now. There is also a new app in the Play Store called SoundShare that pairs with Play Music to allow posting to Facebook!

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rn.soundshare

Wishdog7 says:

Google Music adding ratings and iSynchr working perfectly is what will gradually wean me off my old iPod4 and onto Android for my primary music device.

I'm curious that none of you uses Sleep As Android or any book readers. I guess we all have different dailys.

Mine: ESV, Moon Reader, Facebook, Steam, Aix Weather, Screen Filter, Catch, and the game Tiny Town.