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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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