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2013 Android Moments of the Year

2013 android

I don’t think anyone can deny that 2013 was the biggest year yet for Android. And I’m not talking about sales numbers, I’m talking about things like the quality of handsets that were delivered by our favorite companies. From the Galaxy S4 or Note 3 to the HTC One and G2 to the Moto X and Nexus 5, smartphone buyers had so many great choices. But if you look outside of the devices themselves, there were other stories to be told in 2013, ones that could alter the future of Android in great ways. For example, timely updates became a reality, Motorola made one heck of a return, Google Play Edition devices actually exist now, and the Chromecast is poised to take over your home media experience for just $35.

In a collaborative effort from the DL crew, we touch on a number of these storylines through our choices of Android moment of the year. 

A firm handle on timely updates

If you think back to January 2010 when the Nexus One launched with Android 2.1, only two months after the original DROID hit store shelves with Android 2.0, we have essentially been complaining about the update situation on Android for four years. It’s one of those pain points when you compare iOS to Android (as unfairly as that may be) or this new Android device to that month-old Android device. Updates have been frustrating. Often times, users are stuck waiting months for updates if not closer to a year, all while the next big thing comes along running the latest and greatest release of Android. People feel neglected, ignored, left behind, ripped off, and eventually, frustrated with the platform.

But something changed in 2013. I can’t exactly pin point a lone reason, but we have seen updates come faster than ever before. Samsung released each of its new Galaxy phones running the newest versions of Android shortly after they were announced (4.2 on the Galaxy S4, 4.3 on the Note 3). HTC was ready with Android 4.3 within two months of Google unveiling it. Motorola somehow put Kit Kat on the Moto X within three weeks of its official launch (and Moto G to 4.4.2), while HTC was right there behind them for the One unlocked/developer editions. We have seen Samsung unload 4.3 updates over the last couple of months/weeks for almost all of its lineup from the last two years. Hell, we even gave Verizon major props earlier in the year for dishing out updates with a fury. In fact, this month alone (which we are only 2/3 through) Big Red has pushed out updates to over 10 different devices.

Why is this all of a sudden happening? Well, I would argue for a couple of reasons. First, companies are releasing far fewer devices these days, plus they are releasing the same phones on all carriers. Manufacturers can then fix bugs much faster for the same devices while also having fewer phones to update. One could assume that with four years of experience in updating Android phones, that these companies (both OEMs and carriers) should be getting better at it. Some companies like Motorola are choosing to go with easily-updatable stock Android, while others like HTC have clearly hit a groove at updating their skins. And finally, Google continues to pull pieces out of stock Android and place them on Google Play to make Android a much more trimmed down mobile operating system.

2013 was the year of updates, if you ask me. I can’t wait to see this situation improve further in 2014.

-Kellen

galaxy_s4_gpe_update

In which Motorola redefined what it is to be “mid-range”

Before the launch of the Moto X, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted in a smartphone. It had to have a 1080p display, needed a Snapdragon 600 or 800 quad-core processor, a beastly camera sensor, and at least a 5″ display. I was very set on these things, and if a device came out that didn’t meet these prerequisites, then I wasn’t really paying attention. Motorola then launched the Moto X, and at first, I was turned off by it. It had a smaller body, featured only a 4.7″ 720p display, a Snapdragon S4 Pro dual-core processor, and a 10MP back-facing camera that was unusable before it received a software update to fix it. Needless to say, the only thing that the Moto X had going for it in my eyes was the customization aspect with MotoMaker and a few features like Active Display and Touchless Control. But then I got my hands on one.

Talk about an experience that will change your perception of what a smartphone should be. On paper, the Moto X should be slow and buggy, but the Moto X is far from that. Motorola introduced the X8 Mobile Computing System, a feature that makes the Snapdragon S4 Pro dual-core chip act just as snappy as any quad-core silicon on the market, and with that, my fears of “jank” flew out the door. Not only was performance never an issue, but the phone felt absolutely great in hand. Motorola, with its past knack for creating great hardware, was back in the game. And thanks to the Moto X’s smaller display, the fact that it was only 720p wasn’t a downer at all, it actually helped the device produce excellent battery life and quicker multi-tasking. Motorola’s software enhancements with Touchless Control and Active Display are things I can’t live without these days, all in a package that was labeled “mid-range” by everyone in the industry, even myself.

To sum it up, if the Moto X has taught me one important lesson about phones, it’s that one should never be judged purely on specifications. With the enhancements that companies can make, even a dual-core chip can pump out the same juice as a quad-core. To this day, I still claim that the Moto X is the best Android experience I have ever had.

-Tim

Google Play Edition devices

Change has to start somewhere right? The most interesting development for Android to come out of 2013 has to be the partnership between Google and the OEMs to release Google Play Editions (GPE) of flagship devices through the Play Store. We have talked at length about this on previous Droid Life Shows, but I really think that this initiative has a lot of upside going forward.

At the moment we live in a carrier dominated mobile market. Prices and restrictions are set because the big carriers like Verizon and AT&T can call the shots. If you don’t do what they say then they will find someone else, so we have to follow suit. GPE devices are a step in the other direction. If people want a Samsung or HTC flagship without Verizon or AT&T’s software, they should be able to have access to it. GPEs give them that. Prices of GPE devices right now remain high as a deterrent from everyone just buying from Google instead of the carriers, but over the past few months we are starting to see new pricing models come into the fold. If that trend continues I guarantee you will see GPE prices come down as well.

It isn’t quite viable yet; prices at the moment keep the feasibility limited to only a very small group of people. But, when the market does change, I think Google will have put itself in a very good spot with the GPE devices being available to customers.

-Eric

Chromecast

Hello, Chromecast

Some may say the release of Chromecast doesn’t qualify as an “Android moment of the year,” but I argue the tiny streaming stick will serve an incredibly important role for Android and Chrome far into the future. Its current functions serve it well, but it’s the promise devices like it hold – seamless functionality and significant living room penetration – that make it the potential catalyst for whole-home media solutions powered by lightweight Google operating systems.

For years, Google has been trying with alacrity to make a dent in the home entertainment sphere, but its efforts have typically ended in failure. Google TV, the company’s attempt at a streaming box integrated with cable, fell utterly flat, as did the music-focused Nexus Q. Both were attempts to simplify the transfer of media from Android devices to audio receivers and big-screen displays, but neither was particularly successful for two reasons: unrealistic pricing, and OEM indifference. With Chromecast, Google addressed both issues in one fell swoop, and has reaped nothing but reward since: the cheap and simply HDMI stick has been the best-selling electronic on Amazon since its debut.

Chromecast does a lot for $35. But what if it’s just the beginning? At the same time rumors regarding a “Nexus TV” emerged, details of another company project, EnergySense, leaked. I don’t expect the two will interface in the slightest, but do believe that news of both suggest Google has a continuing interest in the realm of home automation and media streaming. If Google’s latest attempts experiments succeed, it’s not unlikely we’ll see an amalgamation of the two down the road, perhaps something that embodies the company’s nearly forgotten Android@Home project. And you can bet that, whatever it is, it’ll run Android, Chrome OS, or a mix of both.

In short, Chromecast is exciting in its own right, but only the start. Should Google aggressively pursue a Chromecast-like control and pricing strategy with similar devices down the line, the company has a chance of supplanting competitors in a big way. 2014 will be interesting.

-Kyle


With those in mind, feel free to share your Android moments of the year.

  • jasoromchCampione

    It has Lots of apps in the Android Moment.

    http://turboextracut.wordpress.com/2013/12/23/turbo-extracut/

  • Richard Giordano

    Don’t forget tht the DROID Brand is what brought android into wat we see today .

  • JDMendiola

    my android route ;

    OG Droid
    Droid X
    Droid Bionic
    Nexus 4
    Moto X
    Nexus 5

  • Chris

    reading though these comments, it amazes me a lot of you got an erection over the moto X. Thank god for “choice” in the android world.

    • fritzo2162

      The X has well deserved attention. Not sure why you’re hating on it. It’s a brand new innovation that ended up working really well and could shape the design of phones for years to come.

      • Chris

        Did I say i hate it? I just don’t prefer it. at least not the first generation.

  • Brandon

    i’m coming from gs3 on verizon, but moto x is a huge leap forward. this sounds stupid but candy crush on my gs3 was stupid slow, so much lag. on moto x its like lightning. reddit (baconreader) is much smoother, screen is on point, i thought gs3 screen was good, moto x screen is great. battery is 4.5 hours+ of screen on time with full brightness (for me at least, i’ve only had it a few days). great form factor, feels great, 4.7 inch display, and you can make it look however you want. i love it. (oh and its cheap)

  • johntb

    I had the G2 for about a month… sent it back (to Amazon) after some issues with the display and the “knock on/off” feature. and really never liked the buttons on the back. just wasn’t practical to have to pick it up and have to look for the power button on the back EVERY time I needed something from it.

    Today I ordered a 32GB Moto X, using the Moto Maker. Was sure to apply the “Today Show” discount, spent $54.

    I can’t wait to receive it!

  • joejoe5709

    Well I’d say this year was less of the total conquest that was 2012 where Android devastated the competition. 2013 was more about maintaining and refining the ecosystem. It took the immense foundations that we built in 2011 and especially 2012 to the next level. We showed the world that Android is not only powerful and versatile, but stable, useful and friendly. Android is now a juggernaut with massive momentum and there are very few reasons to choose another OS.

    Also from a more personal standpoint, the holiday season 2013 was always the season I looked forward to with equal eagerness and anxiousness as I knew my faithful Galaxy Nexus would need a replacement. In 2012 I wondered if Verizon would get the next Nexus and what that device would look like. We all know what happened so I ended up with an LG G2. And I couldn’t be more pleased. This phone is plain ridiculous in every way. I cannot believe what I put up with for two whole years and it’s hands down the best package on the market.

    I hope 2014 will bring further refinement to ICS/JB/KK while we eagerly wait for a possible big leap forward in Android. I hope the next update to Android is a big one and that is very very exciting to think about. I highly doubt we’ll see massive jumps in hardware. Instead, software improvements will take center stage. While Android continues to dominate, I hope the remember where they came from. I hope they remember that an open source mentality is very important and that the modification/developer community is what makes Android so strong. I think “wearables” and other accessories will make a big splash as we’ll see more smartwatches (well… ones worth buying anyway) and possibly a more mainstream release of Google Glass.

  • NIGHTSCOUT

    2012 was much more exciting for Android.

  • moelsen8

    I would’ve liked to see amazon and Verizon f-up days make the list, even though not purely android moments! haha

  • Ej McCarty

    This kyle dude is awful trying to use big/uncommon words to sound smart. Come on bro

    • Nicholas Ruiz

      I find his vocabulary and writing skills to be pretty refreshing, actually. There is only one word in there I didn’t recognize and I could still figure it out through context. Learning is good!

      • Joe Gugelman

        I couldn’t agree more. Alacrity is a word I’ve heard before, and certainly took his meaning from context, but it was the only word I had to google real quick. Now I’ll be using it without realizing it!!

    • http://www.droid-life.com/ Tim-o-tato

      You dislike a guy for using words not in your own vocabulary? Seems legit…

      • Ej McCarty

        Haha not that it’s not in my own vocabulary, just funny because of the stuff I’m used to reading from you.

        • http://www.droid-life.com/ Tim-o-tato

          We definitely have different styles, that’s for sure.

    • Kyle Wiggers

      Reading is good for you.

    • Reginald Jefferson

      I guess I have a large vocabulary then because I didn’t notice any words that were uncommon and big words tend to be everywhere these days.

  • Omar Amer

    I think the biggest change is the “simplified” smartphone market. no longer are companies producing half a dozen phones to compete with each other. just a couple and the rest of the time on phone updates and work on next year’s model.

    • Adrynalyne

      Hmmm, you must have mentally blocked out Samsung this year…

      • kixofmyg0t

        You forgot about a half dozen S4 variants.

        • Adrynalyne

          Which variants did I miss?

          Differences due to carrier isn’t what I meant.

          • kixofmyg0t

            You missed the 8 core GSM version, the different colored versions that were staged release months afterwards(people claim Moto of the same thing with the different colored RAZR’s). You missed the LTE-A GS4 as well. You claim the the GPE isn’t a different model, but there is a Verizon Dev Edition. That certainly is different.

            Also you have the dual core qHD Mega 5.8, which is different than the Snapdragon 400 powered 720p Mega 6.3. Oh and both the 5.8 and 6.3 Mega’s have dual SIM variants too.

  • Daniel Walsh

    2013 was all about the HTC One. The best phone of 2013. Moto X sucks balls. It has lackluster specs and a hefty price for a phone that is mid-range. The Moto G is more of a game changer than the Moto X because of the price.

    • Adrynalyne

      Yeah but how said is it that the Moto X dances circles around that HTC One?

      • Larizard

        I dunoo.. for the short week i’ve had my Moto X, I actually had some “jank” in switching tasks… I also had issues with the screen getting stuck when it tries to auto rotate in the middle of loading something.. also, the screen was just not as nice to the touch as the Nexus 5. Granted, I had the Nexus 5 for 2 weeks prior having the Moto X, so I might have been spoiled. But the touch, the screen, just feels so much better on Nexus.. I dunoo,

        • Daniel Walsh

          You can’t compare the One and X. One is superior in almost every way possible.

    • Ronald Bernard

      Grantednthe price at release was crap but that quickly changed. I absolutely love my Moto X and do not regret buying it at all.

    • lackGX

      moto X is selling for free to $49 for moto Maker. $99 without deal.. pricey?? my ass

    • Diablo81588

      You’ve obviously never used a moto x.

      • Daniel Walsh

        LOL at Moto fanboys.

    • fritzo2162

      The X is all about multiple job-specific processors. This is an innovation that hasn’t been done before, and something we’ll most likely see in a lot of phones in the future..

  • Pedro

    Dudes forgot T-Mobile.

    From what they offer customers to what changes they forced upon their competitors, I put the UnCarrier movement as THE event of the year.

    • Riz Virani

      That’s not “only” android.

    • kyle

      T-Mobile is undoubtedly the mobile story of the year. They caused an earthquake style sea change that we’re only seeing the beginning of now.

      • Chris

        This is about android, not carriers.

    • schlanz

      Tmobile moment =/= android moment

    • darioqqo948

      My Uncle Harrison
      recently got a nice year old Chevrolet City Express Minivan just by working
      online with a macbook air. find out here now B­i­g­2­9­.­ℂ­o­m

  • paul_cus

    Hoping Sony gets it together for 2014, but knowing them, they won’t.

    • Bald_Sasquach

      Agreed. I really wanted to get a Sony based on how they look with the screen off lol. But turn em on and they’re one of the weaker OEMs at the moment.

  • picaso86

    Moto X at $349 – that was the best moment of 2013.

    • Riz Virani

      It’s happening today too. Just about to buy one for my future TMob account. :P

  • El_Big_CHRIS

    I love my Blue One, but with what moto did I certainly am looking forward to the X follow up. Bring it home moto!

  • tkc122

    2013 belonged to Motorola. Can’t wait for 2014!

    • Adam Truelove

      Sorry, but as unfortunate as it is, Motorola only won in enthusiasts eyes. Samsung still unfortunately rules the Android landscape by a huge margin. Just because the Moto X is popular on nerd sites like Droid Life doesn’t mean your average person cares.

      • C-Law

        I did my part! I convinced one friend to upgrade to a moto x from an S3 and another to switch to a moto x from an iPhone 4

        • Adam Truelove

          I want a Moto Nexus. The Moto X is a great phone to be sure, but in my eyes doesn’t hold a candle to the Nexus 5.

          • Ronald Bernard

            To each their own but I never thought I would buy another non nexus branded phone. Unfortunately I had no choice with Verizon. I really really like m Moto X. If Moto does a Nexus along the lines of the X. We may see the greatest smartphone ever.

        • Chris

          i fell sorry for your friend

      • rfranken

        glad someone said it ^
        Because sales are horrible for it. Good phone but it was a major flop. How could the year belong to a company that is bleeding money like mad.

        • Adam Truelove

          People on this site love this phone so much they just assume it’s popular. It’s very much not. It’s not selling well at all.

          • Adrynalyne

            It could have been made from 24K gold and a low price tag and would not have sold well.

            It did alright for Moto’s first attempt to get back into the game. It will take time to break the hold that Samsung has on the Samsheep.

          • schlanz

            Their phones are amazing. The S4 certainly has been outperformed at this point but around its release it was only rivaled by the One.

            And the Note 3 is the best device out there. Whether you can handle its size or not does not change that fact. Marketing or not, the thing is amazing.

            That isn’t to say I’m oblivious to the impact samsungs marketing makes on its bottom line. But just because they smartly market the hell out of their products does not mean they don’t have great products.

          • Adrynalyne

            “And the Note 3 is the best device out there. Whether you can handle its size or not does not change that opinion. Marketing or not, the thing is amazing.”

            FTFY.

          • schlanz

            Nope, its an indisputable fact. Note 3 > all. Just ask anyone with a Note 3 ;-)

          • Adrynalyne

            You are looking at one.

            Don’t BS a BS’er. Its opinion.

          • schlanz

            You have a note 3 and label yourself a samsheep. Self-loathing note 3 owners don’t count.

          • Adrynalyne

            Owning a Samsung device doesn’t make me a samsheep. Claiming they are the next coming of Christ like so many others do is what defines a samsheep.

            How could I possibly label myself as such?

          • schlanz

            Hmm so others owning it, samsheep, yourself, no problem. Kinda hypocritical.

            Bottom line, yes people buy samsung products largely because of marketing, same as iphone. In the end they are still great products.

            We all buy into marketing in some form or another for certain products. Not everyone shares the same level of knowledge and enthusiasm for mobile devices as you or I. But even then, we both went with Sammy, so what is so wrong with people making the same end decision even if they got there because of effective marketing?

          • Adrynalyne

            Samsheep are those who worship Samsung.

            There is nothing wrong with Samsung owners, until they decide that nothing is worth a damn unless it is Samsung. There are several on this site.

          • schlanz

            Really? Because I see FAR, FAR, more people on this site and others that blindly HATE anything samsung, and worship stock Android, and think anything not stock isn’t worth a damn.

            Not saying there aren’t samsung fanboys out there but I think they are pretty outnumbered.

            And not that you think I’m one, but just in case, I’m a big fan of the G2 and the Droid Maxx (which I have as a work device.)

          • Adrynalyne

            The Samsung fanboys are usually the ones who continually comment against my thoughts of Samsung not being perfect and that the Note 3 is not perfect. So…

            Here is the reason why I do not agree with your ‘fact’ (and yes my comment of it being an opinion was tongue in cheek):

            It has jank. It has 3GB of ram, an S800 SoC, and it has jank! Come on…that is ridiculous when the Moto X with decidedly inferior specs does not.

            It has issues in low signal areas, where the Note 2 handles it better. That is not perfection, much less improvement.

            I could go on, but those are my main beefs.

            I had a Droid Maxx for a short time. After using a Note 2, I found it was too small for my tastes. That was my only real complaint. Hence, Note 3, which I bought new off contract for under contract price. It was a steal. I wouldn’t have even done Note 3, but my wife took my Note 2, because it is the only device she can use with her hearing aids that she can hear.

            Here is what I want to see:

            HEALTHY competition between more than just Samsung. We are already seeing the problem here, Samsung is stagnating with their innovations and relying on gimmicks.

            Touchwhiz doesn’t get updated, updates are slow, and the phones are struggling with it, even as power increases.

            The phones are looking mostly the same, and instead of new stuff, they tack a feature on and call it a new phone (see all the S4 variants).

            This is the effect of no competition and frankly? It blows.

          • schlanz

            Fair enough. I honestly don’t see the jank, maybe I’m not as sensitive to it. The signal thing I have noticed, and frankly that is annoying for me at work where the 4g signal is crap. My Note 2 definitely had less problems there. But, all things considered, I still think its the best phone, imperfections and all, since there’s honestly no such thing as a perfect phone anyway.

            I see where you’re getting at with wanting more healthy competition, but disagree that Samsung is stagnating. I think we all need to temper our expectations a bit between yearly releases. If you look at the difference 2 years has made, its quite clear how far mobile tech has come along across the board. I don’t think there’s any indication the next two years of innovation will prove any less remarkable.

          • Adrynalyne

            Honestly, all I see from Samsung is sticking with the typical hardware update schedule (although the 3GB of ram was surprising), but from a software perspective, Touchwhiz has changed little in the last two years. Sure we get gimmicks here and there, but nothing really changes. The performance has steadily become worse, and I don’t see Samsung in any rush to address it. Thats what I mean by stagnating. At some point these companies need to understand that hardware has surpassed software, and its time to improve the software to take advantage of the hardware. We haven’t begun to see that until the Moto X and that is really just scratching the surface of what is possible. The S800 has a low power audio core that can be used a lot like the Moto X and its non-ARM cores. However, not one company has done it yet, because there is no motivation to. Imagine how much more awesome the G2 would have been doing that? Or the Note 3? It is sad how much goes to waste with these companies.

          • schlanz

            And I apologize if I put sand in your underwear for my (obviously opinionated) claim of the Note 3 being factually the best. People make claims like that all the time, especially DL, and other sites, saying such and such phone (i.e. Moto X/N5) is “the best Android phone” when really its all opinion anyway.

            There is no need to preface every opinionated statement with “in my ooinion” even when a tongue in cheek “fact” is put out there.

          • Adrynalyne

            You will notice, I have not once said any one device is the best at anything. Its not hard to keep an open mind to any product.

          • schlanz

            I never said you did, and I agree. I guess I’m just tired of DL wetting themselves over and over on the Moto X and people on this site bashing Samsung for being successful with a quality product. It seems an open mind is something many have lost around here.

          • Blue Sun

            Samsung does make some truely amazing devices no doubt. Touchwiz adds bloat, jank, disappointment & months of delays to the software upgrade process. All I see is a forked Android experience in Samsung’s future.

          • michael arazan

            Android Central made it “THE” phone to buy right now above the rest, and so do a few other sites. But unless you are some one who wants to get the best dollar value for your phone, and do research, which the average consumer doesn’t it wasn’t going to go big, even with moto maker.

            Had the Moto x released at least $100 less or more it would have been the phone of the year selling millions.

        • Adrynalyne

          Sales arent in for December or November.

      • athom07

        Guarantee this guy has a Nexus 5. I can smell that butthurt all over you Adam Truelove. It stinks. Stinks real bad. The Moto X has you leaking butthurt everywhere you go.

        • Ej McCarty

          Yeah I mean I have the note 3 and it’s fantastic. Easily the best phone I’ve owned and I also have the moto x

      • schlanz

        Dunno why that has to be unfortunate because the Note 3 is the best android device out there!

        Forget the Moto X. If you have VZW, you’re better off with a Maxx. If you don’t, then the Nexus 5 is the way to go. And if customizable colors is what gets your jollies off with a phone then I honestly don’t care what you think.

      • KleenDroid

        I bought one for my daughter for Christmas so I will be able to compare it to my S4 very soon. I am certain it will be a very nice phone but I still would not get it for myself only because I like larger screens. I have an S4 and love it (partly because I got it when I could still Loki unlock the bootloader) but If I had to buy a new phone today I would the G2. It has the best of everything.

    • Rich Robinson

      Moto’s year was excellent – great comeback year. LG had a pretty good year too with the LG G2 which is being heralded as phone of 2013 on several sites, the Nexus 5 which is an excellent phone, and the first Google Play Edition Tablet – LG G Pad 8.3 GPE. The world is better off when Samsung has competition in the Android marketplace.

      • SplashMTN

        I honestly never thought I would own another LG device after being loyal to Verizon’s Droid branded Motorolas. When I first saw the G2 on Droid Life I couldn’t believe that they were putting the buttons on the back. It just felt so gimmicky that I laughed it off. Luckily for me the tech community gave it a shot. I now own the G2 and am really happy. The camera and battery life are miles ahead of any phone I’ve had and easily rival my family member’s iphones. I’m excited to see what LG can come up with in 2014. I also wouldn’t mind a GPE Gpad.

        • Rich Robinson

          I absolutely love my G2. I haven’t rooted it yet b/c it’s just so solid the way it is but Xposed has me very close to doing so. From the screen to the speed to the camera and especially the battery, it’s just perfect. I went OG Droid – GNex – G2 and wow did LG nail it!
          I also have to say the GPE Gpad is fantastic. I am very happy with the purchase and would recommend it to anyone!

          • SplashMTN

            I went OG Droid -> OG Razr -> Gnex. I just heard about Xposed the other day and it has me thinking about rooting as well. I’m always worried about screwing something up though. The only reason my Gnex was rooted was because of the CyanogenMod Installer.

          • MikeKorby

            Are we twins? Because you just described my mobile adventure to a T, with the exception of the fact that I am going to be purchasing a Droid MAXX this weekend, somewhat because I miss Motorola.

          • aye_winchell

            I have a rooted g2 and let me tell you , it gets even better, the mix of interfaces, with stock home screen navigation and status bars, together with the settings menu using xposed and GEL, the phone feels stock, is faster then ever, and has all features i like that came with the phone (knock on/off, although with GEL knock off only works on the status bar, but it hasn’t been an issue for me), it really is a great phone.

          • joejoe5709

            A rooted G2 is arguable far more superior than a Nexus 5. Xposed is super stable and I’ll never need to flash a “nightly” ever again. Once you take the time to cut the crap and add in some goodies, LG’s software isn’t terrible at all. Put that with some of the best hardware of 2013 and this phone trumps every phone on the market. I’m sure the Galaxy S5 will eventually beat the G2 for dev support and probably hardware as well but for now it’s a phenomenal phone.

          • Blue Sun

            Maybe you can get Kit Kat before the end of 2014 on your G2. There is something to look forward to in 2014.

          • Rich Robinson

            Wow. Good thing the LG G2 is still faster than any Kit Kat device to date being at 4.2 or I’d be really worried & upset. Wish LG would get in line with Motorola on updates but then again I wish Motorola would be more in line with LG’s camera, speed, size, and battery. Toughest choice of 2013 is G2 2014 specs or N5/MX less specs but prompt updates…

        • schlanz

          Glad to see people happy with the G2. Hands down its the best bargain available on a 2yr plan, just a super solid performing device.

          I feel like its the most unreservedly ignored phone of 2013. S4, Moto X, Nexus 5, and One all got more love from the android community and tech sites.

          • SplashMTN

            I was really close to getting a Nexus 5, but after hearing about the issues with the camera and battery I couldn’t pull the trigger. I’ve come from a long line of phones with poor batteries and cameras so it’s not something I wanted to deal with this time around. I also got it for $50, and considering my Droid Razr costs around $300 when I purchased it I feel like I got a hell of a deal.

      • Eric R.

        2014 the QWERTY comeback, I miss my Droid 2

      • droidftw

        The G2 is by the far the best phone I have ever used.

      • joejoe5709

        Agreed. Motorola had a great comeback, but not as great as LG. LG was a complete joke two years ago. Starting with the Nexus 4 in late 2012 they started changing our opinion, but they rocked the house in 2013. I don’t doubt that they’ll give Samsung a real run for their money in 2014. Motorola still doesn’t have that kind of momentum just yet, but I have a feeling Google will change that. Watch out for Motorola in 2014. If Motorola can meet or beat the Nexus line for specs, we’ll have a winner.

        So let’s put it this way…

        –Best Software of 2013 goes to Motorola for taking nearly stock Android and actually making it more useful with some great features – something we never thought a skin was capable of. I love my G2 but I will always be genuinely jealous of Touchless Controls and Moto Assist. Their insanely speedy updates went a REALLY long way to earning some serious street cred.

        –Best Hardware of 2013 goes to LG. They’ve taken some serious risks with the G2 and the G Flex and I’d say it’s paid off. They’ve very nearly beaten Samsung at their own game. Other than perhaps the Note 3, they have the hardware game locked down. Probably best off all, they’ve proven that a spec-beast phone can still have amazing battery life. The G2 is now the performance benchmark to beat for every OEM flagship in 2014.