All the best of 2014: Pocketnow year in review

It has been one heck of a year. One mostly dominated by Android, to be honest. It’s not all green bots though, so take heart oh ye fans of other platforms. You’re represented as well. We even wandered outside the realm of normal mobile tech a time or two. But this year was largely candy on a stick. Let’s dive in, shall we?

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5GHz WiFiOur year started off with just such a wandering outside our normal mobile tech coverage. Joe Levi (who will be a familiar face by the end of this article) walks us through the pluses and minuses of 5 GHz wifi. Wondering why you sometimes have issues connecting to your home wifi? Well, I won’t spoil anything, but a common household appliance might be to blame. What could it be and what can you do to prevent it? Check it out.

Nexus 6The Nexus 6 was probably one of the most anticipated devices of the year. That plus the iPhone were enough to make you chew Tums like they were candy for a couple of months there. In fact, our own “Android Guy” almost didn’t buy the darn thing because it was just too big and expensive. But then the clouds parted and the sun shine shined and Mr Android decided to go ahead and make the money work. What caused his shift in thinking? Find out here.

nexus7unboxingAlong with the release of Android Lollipop, came the anticipation of just when Nexus users were going to get it. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “It’s a Nexus. It’s coming right away!” Eh…not so much. As it turns out a couple of OEMs pushed lollipop out the door before even Nexus 5 users got their hands on it. As far as the older devices, like the Nexus 7, well, some of them are still waiting. But the release of new devices eligible for the latest and greatest Android continued to march on.

OneM8-OneMini-Comparison_backIn 2013, HTC introduced the ultrapixel. In 2014, we still wondered why. So, when the HTC One M8 mini debuted with a 13 Megapixel shooter, Taylor Martin set out to explain the difference. 4.1 mega-okay-ultrapixels is just not enough output for a lot of reasons, so Taylor went head-to-head with both of those devices to see if ultra was really ultra or if mega still meant mega. Confused? Go ahead and see the results for yourself.

htc tabletAnd speaking of Ultrapixels, what better followup to that article than the review of the HTC One M8 itself. The headline reads “an elegant smartphone for a more civilized age”. So it must be great. But why is it great? What makes the real difference. These questions and more are answered in our full text review (with the obligatory linked video review). Give it a look and find out what awesome hardware looks like.

chinese-phone-1 copy“Good artists copy, great artists steal.” So was often said by the late Steve Jobs. Well, a Chinese company is accusing Apple of being a great artist. Digione is claiming to have a design patent on a phone that looks remarkably like the iPhone 6 on file since January of 2014. Why it took three months after the release of the iPhone to notice, I don’t know, but if indeed Digione has a leg to stand on will undoubtedly play out in 2015.

nexus 5 cyanogenmod 11Next up in 2014, Joe Levi returns to tell us the merits of running a custom ROM on your Nexus device. In this case, we’re talking about CyanogenMod. Joe Levi found himself on stock Android for much longer than he found acceptable so he went ahead and popped in some fresh CM11 action. Was a whole new world opened to our Android man or did he still find something wanting? Well, that’s for me to know and you to find out. So find out would ya?

How to root Android LWith every release of new Android software comes the question of when. When will I get it on my device? Well, part of the problem of Android’s fragmentation diversity, is that is not always a straight-forward answer. Various OEMs need to adapt it to their devices and get it through testing and out the door. If an OEM has a lot of devices to work with then there will be delays. Just how long did you have to wait?

nexus 5The Nexus 5 has had a complicated history with Android Lollipop. First, other devices nabbed Lollipop before the incumbent Nexus, but then an update hit just after 5.0 and the Nexus was a little on the slow side to get this update as well. But we at Pocketnow sat by your side through the whole ordeal, holding your hand in the waiting room until the doctor came out and gave us all the good news – “It’s an OTA. Ten fingers and ten toes!” Or something like that.

Nexus 6 wish listNow that the Nexus 6 has arrived, many are still questioning what a world in which the only Nexus is a phablet will look like. A couple of weeks ago, Joe Levi addressed this very question. He debated the merits of the Nexus phablet and whether Google should keep the smaller previous generation of Nexus in its lineup. It turns out Google made the decision already, but it’s still worth a read.

2012 Nexus 7For as long as we’ve had mobile devices, we’ve wondered how they can be faster. Well, Joe Levi has an answer for us which addresses some older devices out there, like the Nexus 7. There’s quite a bit of geekery going on here, so this will not be for everyone. But if you have a two year old tablet and you’re wondering how you might perk up the gas mileage a little bit, give this article a read.

android-l-folderRemember a couple of paragraphs ago I talked about the diversity of Android and the effect it had on timely Lollipop updates? Well, we heard you back then and Taylor Martin stepped up to give you a rundown of when Lollipop would be making its way to various devices, based on statements issued by many OEMs. It’s quite the extensive list. Nowadays that question has been answered but it’s interesting to look back and see what the state of the union was back then.

KitKat breaks tethering on T-MobileBack in the beginning of the year, a bunch of folks noticed that Android Kit Kat adversely affected T-Mobile’s ability to tether. Hopefully, if you’re on T-Mobile these days that’s no longer an issue for you, but if it is, good golly we’re sorry, here’s the fix for it.

htc-one-m9-con-780The HTC One M8 is one of the best designed phones on the planet, according to many. But what would HTC have to do to take it one step further? Fortunately, graphic designers have a few thoughts and one made a whole video out of the concept. It’s pretty stunning if you ask me, but don’t take my word for it. Click on over and see for yourself, but don’t forget to grab a towel for the drool.

galaxy tab pro 101 review pocketnowFinally, rounding out our most popular articles of the year comes our review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1. Boy that’s a long name. This offering by Samsung was one of dozens released over the course of the year, and one of the more unremarkable ones. Michael Fisher was complimentary of what this tablet had to offer but wondered just what made it so “pro”. Click over to find out what the answer is.

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Flagships dominated our popular videos this year, and surprisingly (or maybe not) none of them were made by Samsung. Not surprisingly, three of them were about the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 plus. Our initial impressions, full review, and a comparison versus the Galaxy Note 4 (hey! There’s Samsung!) got your iPhone juices going. The LG G3 and the HTC One M8 rounded out our top 5. All of them are linked below, but before feasting your eyes, I’d just like to send out a hearty thank you to all of our readers, subscribers, and viewers all of whom helped make 2014 a fantastic year. All of us at Pocketnow are really excited to bring you even better news, reviews, and editorials in 2015 and beyond!

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About The Author
Adam Doud
Adam joined the tech world after watching Jon Rubenstein demo the most epic phone ever at CES 2009. He is webOS enthusiast, Windows Phone fan, and Android skeptic. He loves the outdoors, is an avid Geocacher, Cubs/Blackhawks fan, and family man living in Sweet Home Chicago, where he STILL hosts monthly webOS meetups (Don’t call it a comeback!). He can be found tweeting all things tech as @DeadTechnology, or chi-town sports at @oneminutecubs. Read more about Adam Doud!