Your favorite stories of 2010

What a year it's been, eh? Think back. We started with the announcement of the Nexus One and Android 2.1, and we're closing out the year with the announcement of Android 2.3 Gingerbread and the prospects of dual-core processors and Honeycomb on the horizon.

But let's take a few moments to look back on 2010 -- namely, your favorite stories of the year. What follows are our top reviews and top stories of the year, as trafficked by you guys. And it's a pretty good list if we do say so ourselves. Check it out after the break.

Top reviews of 2010

5. Sprint Epic 4G review

The first of two Samsung Galaxy S phones to  make our top 5 reviews, the Epic 4G brought something that the versions on AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon did not -- mainly, a horizontal sliding keyboard, and 4G Wimax data.

Ads to that the gorgeous 4-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen, 1GHz Hummingbird processor and Samsung's Touchwiz you, and you have a fitting high-end phone on Sprint.

Read our Samsung Epic 4G review

4. HTC Merge preview

Here's a sought-after phone that you basically have no chance of seeing anytime soon. The HTC Merge fell into our hot little hands in late September 2010. It was slated to be Verizon's version of the HTC G2 -- 800 MHz Snapdragon processor, horizontal sliding keyboard and HTC Sense.

But, alas, the Merge remains unreleased -- and unannounced. Despite the unit we saw being pretty much ready for release, it's rumored to have gone back to HTC for an LTE upgrade -- or maybe to be scrapped altogether. It's very much the white whale of 2010 -- and one that you'll only see here at Android Central.

Read our HTC Merge preview

3. Samsung Captivate review

Oh, our poor friends on AT&T. For months and months and months, there were exactly zero Android devices available on the carrier. And finally, with the announcement of the Samsung Galaxy S series, AT&T got a high-end Android phone (let's just forget about the Motorola Backflip, shall we?) in the form of the Captivate.

The only real bad news? The Captivate (and all of the other Galaxy S phones in the United States) is still waiting on its Android 2.2 update.

Read our amsung Captivate review

2. Motorola Droid X review

Take the manufacturing prowess of Motorola and aim it at a 4.3-inch device, and you get the Motorola Droid X. It was released not too long after the HTC Evo 4G, and it made a statement that larger-screen phones weren't going anywhere anytime soon. Featuring the aforementioned huge screen, an 8-megapixel camera and 8GB of internal storage.

The phone itself is a beast, taller than the Evo, yet thinner, with a TI OMAP 3630 processor running at 1GHz. It unfortunately launched with Android 2.1 (odd because Google used the Droid X announcement to make public the Android 2.2 source code) but has since been updated to Android 2.2. It's an awesome phone for gaming and remains a solid purchase.

Read our Motorola Droid X review

1. Verizon Droid Incredible review

Leaks had been trickling out, but on Sunday, April 18, 2010, the Verzion HTC Droid Incredible became official, as did our review. It's actually a variant of the HTC Desire, with a 3.7-inch touchscreen and 1GHz Snapdragon processor. It also was the first U.S. smartphone to feature the new Sense UI that had been debuted at Mobile World Congress a couple months earlier.

To say the Droid Incredible was popular would be quite the understatement -- they were out of stock fairly quickly, and HTC had trouble meeting demand, mainly because of the new AMOLED display, which was manufactured by Samsung. There simply weren't enough to go around, and the AMOLED screen was supplanted by a Super LCD display.

At the end of 2010, the HTC Droid Incredible remains your (and one of ours) favorite smartphone.

Read our HTC Droid Incredible review

Top stories of 2010

5. Android keyboard roundup

Now that the majority of smartphones are touchscreen-only, keyboard apps are among the most important apps you can download. And thankfully, we can have any number of keyboards on our Android phones. Be it Swype, Swiftkey, HTC's keyboard, the stock Android keyboard -- you name it -- we've got a plethora of ways to hunt and peck around our phones.

This is something we'll certainly revisit in 2011. In the meantime, check out where things stood as of April 2010.

Read our keyboard roundup

4. Rooting -- is it for me?

One of the first questions you'll have with your first Android phone is "What is rooting?" and "Why would I want to root?" Good questions, both. And Jerry Hildenbrand did an outstanding job answering both.

The Cliff's Notes version: Rooting is gaining low-level access to your phone, so that you (or apps) can do things that are closed off by default, usually for security reasons. And why would you want to? Because you can!

Read our Q&A on Rooting

3. Sideload apps with the Android Sideload Wonder Machine

It's a goofy name for a simple yet invaluable piece of software -- one that you don't even install on your phone. It all started one night during the Android Central Podcast, during which we were railing against AT&T's decision to lock its phones to the Android Market. Unlike all other devices, you can't "sideload" apps -- you can only install from the Android Market.

But Android being Android, and us being us, our own Jerry Hildenbrand quickly schemed a way for AT&T devices (and all phones, actually) to sideload apps via the desktop. Jerry worked up a nice user interface so nobody had to mess with the command line, and away we went. Sideloading apps on AT&T phones, just like God and Google intended. Openness FTW.

More on the Sideload Wonder Machine

2. Motorola Droid, Cliq to get Android 2.1

The date: Jan. 6, 2010. The news: The Motorola Droid (which only was a couple months old at the time) and the Motorola Cliq would receive updates to Android 2.1. Think back -- the Droid launched with Android 2.0 (and actually was one of the few phones to have that version of Eclair), and the Cliq with Android 1.5. The Nexus One and Android 2.1 had just been announced, and everyone's favorite game of "Will my phone get the newest Android version" had just begun yet again.

Read Motorola Droid, Cliq to get Android 2.1

1. Download Swype for Android beta

OK, this cheats just a tad, with the story having been published on Dec. 30, 2009. But the initial Swype beta for Android easily was your favorite story of 2010, and the various follow-ups have been pretty damn popular, too. Suffice it to say, the Swype keyboard has been one of the coolest add-ons of the year -- so much so that most newly released phones already have Swype installed, which actually was the company's plan all along.

Yeah, that's a bone of contention for many of us -- it'd be quicker and easier to just download Swype from the Android Market; it'd make getting updated versions of the keyboard much easier. But the company's business model from the get-go has been to work with the carriers and manufacturers to get Swype preloaded on phones -- and it's certainly paid off.

Read Download Swype for Android beta

Phil Nickinson
  • Prediction for 2011: Barnes and Noble decides not to fight the rooters and joins them instead. The B&N NookPad, newly liberated with a full blown Gingerbread update and better battery becomes the first real challenger to the iPad. Steve Jobs forced to eat his words as Apple hastily readies a lower cost, 7 inch iPad in response.
  • Google buys Barnes and noble. Offers digital books hard copy and audio book in one bundle. Win!!!!
  • With full-blown tablets rapidly approaching Nook prices (and more capable), not much reason now to get a Nook. So if they can get Google on-board with allowing the Market on a Wifi-only, no-contract NookieTab when you can install every reader on a tablet and price shop, may be their way to get a piece of that hardware money. Now if they then gave a small discount to NookieTab owners when buying from B&N instead of from Amazon....
  • Weird... didn't the EVO come out in 2010? Wasn't it hailed as basically the best thing since sliced bread? No mention of it here, even though it lit up the skies when it was leaked with people saying things like "If you put 10 geeks in a room and told them to design a phone with everything that they wanted (HDMI, 1GHz, 8MP rear cam, 1.3MP front cam, huge screen), the EVO is that phone."
  • No kidding. The first 4G mobile device to be released to the masses, Sprint's most popular phone and definitely one of the most popular overall today, and no mention of it? WTH?
  • Don't blame us. This is a top-5 list based on page views. And that's all you. :p
  • Then I understand!!
  • Wow, shocked about this. Is this just page views by members, or all page views? This generated a lot of buzz outside the Android Community. Did another site cover the EVO more indepth, or provide information sooner? I know I came over to see the review before being a member as a link from PreCentral.
  • The Evo should of definitely been up there. Maybe the Evo got so many page counts that the page counts restarted or malfunctioned some how?...wishful thinking! :P
  • Doubtful. There's no doubt the EVO's a great device, but it's a great device on America's 3rd largest carrier (out of 4 major players). If the EVO was on Verizon, THEN it'd be up there with the Droid X. So... let's see what happens next year with the Thunderbolt?
  • Hmmmm, I guess. I'm guility of thinking everyone must think like me. To me, tech news is tech news, regardless of the availability to me. I'm on Sprint, but I still followed stories on the release of all the Moto Droids, EVO, IPhone 4, Blackberry Playbook, and Pre 2. (heck, did all that when I was still sporting a Pre-) Interesting tech, is interesting tech to me. Just thought the EVO breaking the ground for 4G would have stirred interest, regardless of thoughts on the carrier. I was wrong.
  • What carrier the evo is on has nothing to do with it. Hands down one of yhe best android phones on the market
  • Very much like that the Epic 4G review made this list. I enjoyed it, and I love my Epic. Any Epic love is good love. And I should also add a big thank you to Android Central for all the news, reviews, and information you provide for us about our specific devices, and the Android OS in general. I love what you guys do, so my hat is off to you all!
  • Wonder what ice cream will be like... tasty.
  • Samsung Epic 4G is the best phone of 2010. That is all.
  • My favorite story was the one about the Epic getting 2.2, I love fairy tales!
  • Not surprised to see the Dinc at #1. There was a lot of hype prior to this phone's release. Then when it came out, and the shortages of amoled screens plagued it, the wind blew out of the sails, even though the switch to SLCD brought it back from extinction. Right now, there are still no phones on Verizon I would trade the Dinc for. But they are coming soon I suppose. Please do not make it a Evo sized device!!
  • Is there another "break" cuz I dont see anything about the EVO?
  • Who knew that the phone Phil hated so much would end up being number 1!
  • Wasn't the Nexus One released on Jan. 6? Surprised that didn't generate lots of page views to put it in the top 5. And as far as Swype goes, what a joke. The beta was announced A YEAR AGO and it's still in beta? Geez. So since their business model involves preloading Swype on phones, I guess those with the Nexus line of phones will never see a non-beta version....
  • I still don't know why he hates it.