The Android platform grows and gets better each year. From the days of laggy Froyo to the bearable Gingerbread to the smooth Ice Cream Sandwich to the snappy Jelly bean, it’s been an upward journey and truth be told, and don’t see any drop any time soon.
In 2012 two major iterations of Android were released. Version 4.1 of Android was released in mid-2012 at the Google I/O conference and is still being rolled out to the various devices that are lucky to be getting it. With Android 4.1, it could finally be said that Android had finally come of age. I’ve use Android 4.1.1 and Android 4.1.2 both vanilla and skinned types and regardless of whatever iteration it is, it is way better than any OS you’ll use on a smartphone right now.
Android 4.1 introduced a polished virtual assistant (not like Siri, this one is more reliable), Google Now, brought along enhancements to speed up responsiveness and remove the lag that had come to be associated with Android through Project Butter (You can check what else came with Jelly Bean here).
Android 4.2 was the second iteration of Android to be rolled out. It is still unavailable on most devices and will be rolled out to the earliest non-Nexus devices starting January of the New Year. It builds on the first iteration and makes everything even smoother while introducing a more refined Google Now, a better keyboard and enhancements to core Android apps like Gmail.
It is also in 2012 that the Android app store was rebranded from the Android Market to the Google Play Store. The rebranding saw the elevation of the status of the store to offer more iTunes-like content with tie-ins to content like movies, music and books alongside the apps.
It is also the year that some apps we’ve been salivating everytime our iPhone totting friends taunt us with them came to Android. Yes we got Instagram, Flipboard and Temple Run finally. I hope Tweetbot eventually makes its way to the Google Play Store in 2013.
2013 should be the year we get a new dessert name for the next Android version, Android 5.0. While all fingers point at Key Lime Pie, it could as well be Kandy Cane.
2012 has been good for Windows Phone. After an impressive run as Windows Phone 7.5, it received a major upgrade to Windows Phone 8 where Microsoft is looking to provide a consistent interface across all Windows devices from the traditional desktop where it has been king to smartphones and some uncharted territory like tablets that it is seeking to concur with its Windows RT based tablets.
Windows Phone 7.8 is also being rolled out to the devices running Windows 7.5 since they won’t be upgraded to Windows Phone 8.
Windows Phone has been criticized for not having enough apps but to be honest no platform grows overnight. It is still young and is expected to grow. Even the numbers we see on iOS and android never came overnight. Fortunes will surely change for Windows Phone.
It is still too early to brand Windows Phone a success or a failure so I’ll hold my thoughts till the next year in review.
2012 is the year Apple debuted iOS 5. One thing I like about iOS upgrades is the consistency mask they wear. Being an Android fan and knowing the terrible adoption rates over there on Android, this is one area Apple should be so proud of itself. Having almost all iOS device owners that qualified for the upgrade upgrade their devices in droves without bricks as is the norm on Android is quite commendable. The few who held out for fear of losing Google Maps finally did after Google released its Maps app to the Apple App Store.
2012 is the year that Apple messed up when it decided not to bundle Google Maps app with iOS 5 and had to learn the hard way not to rush over things.
After failing to get the rights to name its upcoming OS update BB X, BlackBerry decide to stick with its usual numbering system and on January 30th, the world will be waiting to see what BB 10 has to offer.
I’ve been sad to see this one go. Symbian is the OS that introduced me to the world of phones. I am sure many like me out there always feel nostalgic of those days when Symbian was the only option and the go to King.
With Nokia officially abandoning Symbian for Windows Phone, there could never have been a better year to declare Symbian officially dead than 2012.
I watched the introductory video of Jolla Sailfish that the creators posted on YouTube and I was blown away. It has the potential to take on the big boys. Go through the video once again and pray that this gets mainstream soon. We will probably see the first devices powered by Jolla Sailfish in mid-2013 or towards the end of the year but it’s a worthy wait.