You made your nominations, and you voted. Now we have a winner. The Andy for Best Non-Nexus Android Phone of 2011 goes to...
Best Non-Nexus Android Phone Of 2011: Readers' Choice
The Samsung Galaxy S II.
This really comes as no surprise. The Samsung Galaxy S II is still one of the most powerful handsets on the market, and with an Ice Cream Sandwich update inbound sometime in the coming year, it's only going to get better.
In our biggest giveaway yet, we're handing out a whole boatload of awesome Samsung Android products - including the Verizon Galaxy Nexus, T-Mobile Galaxy Tab 10.1, and the T-Mobile Galaxy S II. Also included are the Captivate Glide and the Exhibit II 4G, all courtesy of our friends at Samsung's Mobile US division. This contest is open to US entrants only (they're US-only devices and Samsung USA is sponsoring, sorry guys).
Following the example set by AT&T and T-Mobile's Samsung Galaxy SII variants, Sprint's Epic 4G Touch is set to get its own white counterpart, probably in early 2012. Pocket Now speculates that the Epic 4G Touch's white version may be announced at CES.
Personally, I'm hoping Sprint has a little more to talk about at CES than their own white SII, but the paint job does look rather flattering. While the above shot is all we have to go on for now, we'll be here to cover any other details that may emerge.
An early version of the Ice Cream Sandwich ROM built by Samsung itself and complete with TouchWiz has been leaked today to the folks at SamMobile. They've quickly put together this video to demonstrate exactly what Samsung has been cooking up for the upcoming update - and that would be a whole lot of TouchWiz on top of the beautiful ICS UI we've been admiring so far:
Ever since I got the SGS II in the U.S., I don't mind TouchWiz as much (though those click sounds make me cringe every time), but it's kind of starting to look and feel old compared to Ice Cream Sandwich itself.
If you're currently using a Samsung Galaxy S II on T-Mobile's network, keep an eye out for a software update KL1 with Android 2.3.5 that will be heading your way starting today, December 14th.
The update brings caller ID, battery, and Wi-Fi calling enhancements and will arrive over-the-air, although you Kies Mini may also be used for installation (starting December 15th). T-Mobile says that it is being rolled out over the coming weeks, so you may have to be patient or wait for it to be available via Kies Mini.
In a new 60-second ad spot that could be described both as hilarious and extremely bold, Samsung tells consumers that "the next big thing is already here" with the Galaxy SII, while taking a pretty strong shot at die-hard Apple fans, satirizing Apple's cult following.
Who wants a white Galaxy S II? Good news! Your dream is going to become a reality soon enough - if you're on T-Mobile that is. That's right, an all white version of the GSII will be landing in T-Mo stores and online sometimes before the holidays. Vague, I know, but that's all the info we have right now as far as availability is concerned.
The white version will most likely share the same specs as the current, black version:
4.52-inch 480x800 Super AMOLDED Plus display
1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon
16GB built-in storage, microSD card slot
8MP rear shooter, 2MP front
Android 2.3.x with Touchwiz
Anyone interested in picking one of these up when it comes out?
Amazon Wireless, one of our favorite online mobile retailers, launched its Black Friday promotions a little early this year, and boy are they good!
Did I say good? I meant absolutely incredible (though, unfortunately, only for new customers): every single phone at Amazon Wireless sold by Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and Sprint is going for just 1 penny.
Yup, even such $299 monsters as the HTC Rezound 4G and the DROID RAZR, along with the Galaxy S II variants (including the Skyrocket) are all priced down to a cent above free.
It looks like the Cyanogenmod team, in a continued effort to bring continually-updated Gingerbread goodness to as many devices as possible, have brought nightlies to a new crop of handsets, including AT&T's variant of the Samsung Galaxy SII, the Motorola Atrix, LG's Optimus Black and a handful of Sony devices including the Xperia X10, Play, Arc (X12), X10 mini, ST18i, and about five others.
Update: Here are some of the popular device/codename mappings (mapping these took a significant and unnecessary amount of time.
Last month we saw an unlocked version of Samsung's Galaxy SII at Mobile Daily Steals for a cool $100 off its original price. If you were hoping to get an ever so slightly deeper discount on Samsung's hottest smartphone to date (still waiting on the Galaxy Nexus), your chance has arrived. For the next 24 hours, a "limited quantity" of SIIs are available on eBay for just $489.99.
If somehow you've forgotten, or haven't been paying attention, here are some of the SII's specs:
Android 2.3 Gingerbread
4.3" WVGA Super AMOLED Plus Display
8MP rear shooter and 2MP front shooter
1.2GHz Dual-Core ARM Cortex A9 Processor
Expandable Storage via MicroSD, up to 32GB
The unlocked SII will work on a wide array of networks, making it ideal for an off-contract purchase, or phone to take on trips.