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Droid Life’s Look Back at 2012

Droid Life 2013

We love polls here at DL. It gives us a great sense of how you all feel about certain topics and that is something we care a lot about. Last year, we did a sort of “Look Back” at Droid Life through polls and it was a really interesting post. So, we have decided to bring it back this year too. 

In general, 2012 was a huge year for Android. When it came to phones, the Galaxy Nexus still reigned supreme in people’s pockets, quad-core devices and Jelly Bean took over the spec pages, and we found that people still have to have root access. We were introduced to a whole new Nexus lineup of devices, Verizon’s tiered data, and fancy new display technology.

And please, excuse my crude graphs.

What is your current phone?

What’s more important than knowing which phone each of you have? Crazy enough, the difference between ownership numbers between phones from December of 2011 to August of 2012 was pretty much directly related to the introduction of the Galaxy S3, which kicked a few devices off of the list completely.

2012 predictions and results.

We asked readers what they thought 2012 would mean to Android back in January of this year. Warning, the answers may shock you. We still believed Honeycomb was going to be the future of Android tablets, but we nailed it with the excitement over quad-core devices. Unfortunately, we still didn’t know Verizon had Share Everything plans on the way, which took a nice chunk of our recent “What was 2012 the year of?” poll.


Rooted or non-rooted?

One of the pivotal questions that we ask our readers every half year or so is if their device is currently rooted or non-rooted. With devices coming straight from the factories with plenty of power and a much better looking UI then they used to, the needs for rooting are sadly fading away with the days of Gingerbread and Froyo. Google is continually making Android look and perform better with each new release, but according to our readers, they still want the root!

Do you own an Android tablet?

Android tablets. Since the launch of the Nexus 7, they have become a huge part of our ecosystem, but before that, they really weren’t all that popular. Google and ASUS teamed up for Google I/O and launched the perfect product, at the perfect time. From what you can see, we ran this question in February of this year and then again in October. Huge change in the numbers of, “Yes!”

Interested in the Nexus Q?

So, not everything Google puts out can be a hit, right? We basically saw what happens when Google releases a product that is overpriced and theoretically doesn’t do anything besides weigh a ton. Sorry, Nexus Q. Maybe Google can go work on you a bit longer and add some real functionality besides streaming YouTube videos.

Nexus Q

What’s your favorite new feature in Jelly Bean?

Jelly Bean. The newest version of Android took center stage this year for many people and has become extremely popular with users. It brought many enhancements that I think a few of us couldn’t live without now. At Google I/O, they introduced Google Now, expandable notifications, and Project Butter to just name a few. We decided to ask what stood out the most among readers and Project Butter ran away with it, even though it’s a feature you don’t actually “see.”

Favorite JB Features


This year, we were able to see that the Android group is sort of a cheap bunch. No offense, but look at these numbers. Now, there’s no way to directly correlate the folks between the two polls, but out of the almost 10,000 people that answered these, a whopping 46% of people have only “0-10” paid apps. Let’s go support those developers, folks! If you play a game that you enjoy and there’s a paid version, let’s convince these developers to keep working.

Apps InstalledPaid Apps

What’s keeping you with your current wireless carrier?

We talk a whole lot about carriers on the site. With the introduction of tiered data, new phones, and 4G LTE data, we need to know what’s keeping you with your current provider. The people have spoken, and it isn’t so much the grandfathered data hogs that have spoken. People want good coverage and fast speeds. To top it off, we needed to find out what kind of plan you’re currently on. No surprise here! The DL community doesn’t rock anything unless it’s unlimited!

CarriersData Plans

How much data are you actually consuming?

So, now that we are able to see what plan you are on and what you’re loving about it (4G LTE), we set out to see how much data we’re actually consuming. 2GB to 4GB was on top, but definitely not by much. In third came 10GB+ with 17% of the vote. Now that’s a data hog right there.

Data Consumption

Hardware & Specs.

We’re huge hardware fans and we love to talk about mobile processors, RAM, and all of that jazz. What makes it even better is that all of you like it too! Recently, we asked which processor was in your phone of choice. Being that many of you are on Verizon, Snapdragon had no issues pulling out that win. But what about on-screen keys and things like that? Let’s take a look at what the DL community was digging this year in terms of hardware and specs.

ProcessorsKeysScreen or CameraThin or thick


To sum it up, we have had a very exciting 2012! We look forward to 2013 and everything it has to offer the Android community. We have CES in Vegas, MWC in Barcelona, more 1080p devices, more Google I/O, whatever Samsung is working on, new leadership at Motorola, and so much more.

Thanks to all of our readers for being the greatest group of Android lovers out there. 2013 should be a blast!

  • joejoe5709

    Great post, Tim. I literally chuckled out loud when I saw “What are you hoping to see in 2012?” Honeycomb tablets??!! Ha ha we had no idea what was in store for us! Most of us where looking forward to widely available quad-core phones/tablets. And we thought that quad-core was going to be mind-blowing, but that ended up being a relatively minor footnote in 2012’s story. I’m so glad Android took a year to focus on software rather than hardware. Jelly Bean is truly great. Here’s hoping my GNex will continue to age gracefully in 2013 and the successor(s?) to the Nexus4 will be much more impressive by the time my updgrade arrives. 🙂

  • joejoe5709

    See here I was thinking 2012 was a little bit of a dud compared to 2011. 2011 seemed like it was such a major leap for Android in both hardware and software and 2012 just rode on its coattails. I mean, The Gnex is still one of the best phones out there. The GSIII, while absolutely amazing, really doesn’t blow the doors off any high-end phones from 2011. But I guess that’s okay. A year ago, I said 2012 will be “The year of the Android” and I was definitely right. We’re now reaping from 2012’s crop and with Apple slowly slipping, 2013 will definitely the “clincher” for Android to assert its dominance. We’ve now started a whole exciting Nexus family to rival that of Apple. Jelly Bean/Google Now is starting to melt faces with its awesomeness. 2012 was really the year that introduced Android to the mainstream as not just a nerdy anti-Apple but an actual OS designed for the masses on the same (or perhaps better) level than iOS. But I’m really curious to see what 2013 brings because things are just now starting to get really interesting. The OEMs are bound to bring a slew of new tech (lighter phones, bigger 1080p screens, better materials, and hopefully better batteries!). Android software is just going to keep improving (probably just another year of ICS/JB. I doubt KLP will be a major jump like ICS.) I predict that Apple will continue its slow decent into mediocrity, Windows Phone will start to become a worthy opponent and we’ll be on our way to a traditional three-sided competition by 2014. Cheers to the New Year!

  • tomn1ce

    Nice job Tim….Nice way to recap on the year that was….and now lets look at what 2013 is bringing us…..Android FTW….

  • S2556

    good write up!

  • Silver Veloz

    This is a great recap. Thanks for keeping us updated (and entertained) throughout 2012. Can’t wait til 2013.

  • Bionic_Pags

    Nicely done Tim… only poll i disagree with was “What is keeping you with your wireless carrier” – if unlimited data was included on that poll, it would have dominated like it did in the comment section…

    • Network coverage is keeping me with Verizon WAY more than unlimited data. They’re going to take my unlimited data away eventually, but their network is simply unmatched. And for that reason, I hate them even more.

      • LionStone

        Whenever they do take away Unlimited, I’m just gonna move to the mountains! I just learned from Tim I’m a data hog 🙁 10 gigs this last billing cycle, 5 days to go 🙂

        • michael arazan

          I have used up to 50 gb in a month, and it was all from uploading 1080 hd videos from my vacation adventures. 1080 hd really eats memory on my phone, 10 minutes is like a gb data. I have videos more because of the clarity and the 5mp on my gnex doesn’t cut it at times, but the video is great.

  • nightscout13

    Lots of good stats here…..

  • Justin W

    Great article, Tim. Keep up the good work!

  • Dont forget about WWDC. I heard theres going to be a sixth row of icons! And new adapters.

    • JoshGroff

      They’re adding a column this time, they realized that just adding a row wasn’t enough. 😉