As promised, we've got another set of roundups for you this month. This time, though, we're not just looking at last month's best apps and games – we've got a short list of the very best apps and games from all of 2012.
To be sure, poring over all the apps we've covered in the past year was an arduous task. We've picked three entries for each category (in no particular order), but there were certainly more than four new apps worth talking about.
Have you heard of TransferJet? We won't begrudge you if you haven't. It's a fairly obscure bit of technology that hasn't managed to work its way into many consumer products, despite first launching to the public back in 2008. So, consider this whole article a bit of indulgent dreaming when we tell you about Toshiba's newly-announced micro-USB adapter that can add TransferJet capabilities to Android phones. What does that mean?
Drop this one in the "noteworthy, but not notable" bucket, but we had some time last night to check out AT&T's Pantech Discover, a phone with a pretty impressive specification sheet given its price point - just $50 on contract.
The Discover has a 4.8" 720p display, 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, 16GB of internal storage, 12.6MP rear camera, LTE, and runs Android 4.0 (OK, that's a bit of a miss). While we wouldn't call this a groundbreaking device in and of itself, the price AT&T will be peddling this particular piece of hardware at is going to make it a very attractive option for the brick-and-mortar crowd (eg, your parents).
For better or worse, five inches seems to be the new target for flagship Android devices. Huawei is bringing its game to CES (unlike most manufacturers that are holding back for Mobile World Congress) with the Ascend D2, a new Jelly Bean 4.1 device sporting a 5-inch 1080p LCD panel and the in-house K3V2 1.5 GHz quad-core CPU. Other highlights include a 13MP camera (narrowly beating out Alcatel's One Touch Idol Ultra) and respectable 9.9mm waist.
Pantech hasn't been going after the bigger manufacturers in the "superphone" category, at least outside of its home turf of South Korea. Until today, that is - at its CES press conference, AT&T announced the Pantech Discover, a flagship-class device that meets and in some cases beats the best that Samsung, HTC and Motorola have to offer. In addition to somewhat typical high-end specs like a 4.8-inch 720p screen, 1.5Ghz dual-core processor and 16GB of on-board memory, the Discover boasts a best-in-class camera (at least on paper) of 12.6 megapixels.
It's the new year, and you know what that means: everyone is trying to lose weight. Nothing wrong with starting the year off trying to shed a few pounds – but the hard part is staying motivated. There are a flurry of apps that can aid in such a quest, but the real benefit comes when your workout data can be automatically synced with your smart device. And now, Fitbit – a site/service "dedicated to helping people lead healthier, more active lives" – is getting into the game with its own wristband, a la Jawbone's Up or Nike's Fuelband.
Titanium Backup, perhaps the most popular and powerful root backup solution available, got an update to version 5.8 today, an update that brought with it fixes, added support, and new features.
Probably the most significant new feature is the addition of web server backup uploading and downloading (for Pro users). If that sounded like a sentence written in Greek, we'll try to expound – what this means is that your device can now start a web server right from the Titanium Backup interface.
Belkin, a little early to the CES party, has just dropped a couple of announcements regarding its WeMo brand. WeMo, for those who don't know, is Belkin's brand of electronic components (so far including a "switch" compatible with anything you could plug into a normal outlet, a baby monitor, and a motion sensor) meant to allow users to control their electronics from anywhere using their mobile device. Until now, however, WeMo has only been compatible with iOS devices.
With CES just days away, we're about to head into a dense week of tech product news. New devices across the board - phones, tablets, accessories, TV's, speakers, cameras, and more. A large chunk of those product announcements will probably, at least in some roundabout way, be relevant to Android.
But it's the phones and tablets I think that we're all most excited for, and that will probably make the biggest bang during this year's show overall.
Like most in the Android world, I've been steadily increasing my comfort zone on how big a screen I want. Back in the day, I was obsessed with getting my phone as small as possible, like Zoolander. Then I got my first smartphone in the Windows Mobile 6 days, and ever since then every device I get has a bigger screen than the last, and I end up being happy about it.