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 update
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.
Google's giving up too much ground in the smart home fight
We're in the thick of our fall launches, but after the tidal wave of new products from Amazon last week, Google's Launch Night In looks like it'll barely make a splash. That's not good, because Alexa and Ring are rapidly gaining on Assistant and Nest.
Luna is both a safe bet and Amazon's best idea in years
Is "rolling your own" Netflix-style game library what we really want? Amazon thinks so.
Google's parent company settles shareholder lawsuit over sexual misconduct
Following sexual misconduct reports from 2018, Google has settled a shareholder lawsuit and announced major changes to how the company operates in these regards — including no severance packages for employees fired over sexual misconduct.
The best portable instant photo printers for Android devices
You're on the move and making memories on your mobile. While digital is great, why not try and make those memories a little more permanent with a tangible photo?