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.
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 It has the features and design I like -- even if that widget is a little outdated -- with absolutely no crashes or bugs.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.
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.
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.
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.
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?