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PhoneArena Awards 2012: Game-changing Product

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PhoneArena Awards 2012: Game-changing Product
Don't you feel like a new phone or tablet gets announced almost on a weekly basis? Guess what, so do we! A great fraction of these new devices aren't anything special, though – they are often just a model somewhat better than the previous one, meant to occupy the price point of its predecessor. The older version just goes further down the hierarchy until it gets discontinued. Yeah, the whole circle-of-life principle is also valid when it comes to mobile gadgets.

Every once in a while, however, a new product steps in and changes everything. Its impact on the mobile industry is so significant that it causes competing companies to rethink their strategies if they are to survive on the market. And that's when things get really interesting!

The second category in the PhoneArena Awards of 2012 is for the year's game-changing product. In fact, we have not one, not two, but three products to honor today, and they all were made possible by a single company, although three different makers were given the task to produce them. Can you already guess what are the three gadgets we are talking about?

The 2012 Google Nexus family

Powerful hardware and amazing software delivered at an unbelievable price – these are the primary factors that made us pick the Google Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 as the game-changing products of 2012. 

PhoneArena Awards 2012: Game-changing Product
The Google Nexus 7 is the device that launched first. Announced back in June, it was a great, budget-friendly tablet that could be bought for as low as $200. Yeah, we had the identically priced Kindle Fire before it, but unlike Amazon's offering, the Nexus 7 delivered the full-blown Google experience. And its hardware was nothing to complain about either. NVIDIA's quad-core Tegra 3 is still a pretty decent piece of silicon, and the 1280 by 800 pixel IPS LCD screen is more than suitable for a tablet of this class.

Fast forward several months into the future and the Google Nexus 4 gets announced – an outstanding high-end smartphone based on the LG Optimus G. However, it wasn't its powerful quad-core processor that impressed us the most, neither the new Android 4.2 Jelly Bean that ran on the device. What was most astonishing about the Google Nexus 4 was its price – only $350 for the 16GB model. No wonder that the Google Play store ran out of stock shortly after the smartphone was made available for purchase.

And how can we not mention the Google Nexus 10 tablet? It is another beast of a device, blessed with a powerful processor and a gorgeous 2560 by 1600 pixel display. Its $400 price tag is just as impressive as its hardware specifications.

And these, folks, were the three game-changing products of 2012! Would you agree with us, or would you rather say that a different device should have been awarded? Let us know down in the comments! Also, the next category in PhoneArena's Awards of 2012 will be announced in 24 hours, so stay tuned!

Story timeline

This story is part of: PhoneArena Awards 2012(11 updates)

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posted on 04 Dec 2012, 11:46 4

1. drahmad (Posts: 480; Member since: 20 Aug 2011)

they are not game changers, they "game on" products

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 12:39 20

15. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4839; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)

What about setting a new standard, like 1080p HD screens on mobile phones?

That is game-changing, don't you think? For Sharp to release a 1080p HD display at 5" is a TRUE definition of "game-changing", to me at least. Do you know how hard it is to fit 2,073,600 pixels in a small 5" diagonal area? Why did PhoneArena.com miss this on their best innovations of 2012 & now on their game-changing product of 2012?

Sharp is responsible for the technology, BUT HTC brought it to the world on their BEAST Droid DNA/J Butterfly smartphones.

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 13:02 10

24. kickgolfer (Posts: 69; Member since: 03 Dec 2012)

HTC's not a game changer. They're just the first buyer for this panel from Sharp. It's 1080p screen is very nice(IMO, best screen out, period) but upgrade from 720p to 1080p was expected. LG, japandisplay, Samsung, other taiwanese &japanese OEMs already all posses the manufacturing ability of 5" 1080p lcd panels, it's just matter of when.

Samsung's even working on 1080p SAMOLED panels, which no one in the business is come close to/able to produce at the moment. I hear even Samsung having trouble mass producing it right now.

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 13:13 10

27. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4839; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)

Can you imagine a beautiful 5.5" or 6" 1080p RGB Super AMOLED display? Can you say Samsung Galaxy Note III? lol

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 17:45

39. kickgolfer (Posts: 69; Member since: 03 Dec 2012)

I love my Galaxy Note 2's display but I know it's not the best out there now. I give that title to Sharp's 5" 1080P SLCD3(HTC's Droid DNA/Butterly J) but like I said before everyone's going to have simiar displays on their high-end devices. All going to be 1080p and sweet. IPS panels are really great for being smartphone displays and more but OLED does have it's strong points, too.

As most of you here already know, Samsung went with the pentile type on their first Galaxy S and Nexus but used the RGB type on their second generation of Galaxy S line. Before the release of this year's most popular phone, the Samsung's Galaxy S3, Samsung and Google collaborated and released the Samsung Galaxy Nexus S with pentile display. Even though it had pentile display, it did have improvements over Galaxy S2's RGB type display. Samsung used the same type of pentile display on their latest Galaxy S device but still made a lot of improvments over Galaxy Nexus S's display. I know the Note 2 has RGB type display but I'm just amazed by how quickly Samsung's evolving and they're doing it all alone right now. Samsung's OLED tech should be at least 2 yrs ahead of it's competition. I can't wait to see the upcoming S4's beautiful 4.99" SAMOLED Plus display. White should be whiter than now and colors should be more natural and bright.

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 17:53 1

40. kickgolfer (Posts: 69; Member since: 03 Dec 2012)

I love gaming on my Galaxy Note 2 but gaming or watching videos and surfing web on 5.6~6" 1080P SAMOLED Plus display with improved color saturation, balance and whiter white would be pure epic.

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 13:20

29. gwuhua1984 (Posts: 1237; Member since: 06 Mar 2012)

No no, the phone really is a game changer... Just not innovation. Compared to the Nexus, it's just a bit short of a game changing product.

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 13:55 3

31. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4275; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)

Not really game-changing, it was an expected evolutionary advancement. Though, it is beautiful, it isn't game-changing, considering that this is just going to be the new standard for flagships in 2013. HTC was just first to make a consumer model with a 1080p display, not a game-changer, it just set a new standard.

My definition of game-changing is when a company outs a product that will completely turn the tides for the company and changes that specific industry as a whole. 5" 1080p displays are only evolutionary, not revolutionary.

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 14:34 3

33. Zero0 (Posts: 592; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)

A $300 quad core, 2GB RAM, 312 ppi, 4.7 inch, always updated smartphone sounds pretty game-changing to me. 1080p is a nice upgrade, but not earth-shattering. A half-price flagship, that's going to shake things up.

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 18:11

42. Nadr1212 (Posts: 741; Member since: 22 Sep 2012)

I can see why They didn't mention the Google Nexus 4,
It doesn't even deserve an 8

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 19:35

45. Jasonhunterx (Posts: 111; Member since: 20 Jul 2011)

Lately you've been really trolling with this 1080P junk we get it it looks great but its surely not a game changer its a cool new improvement but not game changer you can buy a high end and high end phone for 550$ that's a game changer last year we wouldn't be able to say those words now the game is changed let the value/price war begin!

posted on 05 Dec 2012, 06:48

52. infinitemethod (Posts: 149; Member since: 04 Sep 2012)

So the Nexus 10 display at its high res gets no love? Very few actually care about display specs anymore. People like you and me do but the vast majority of people probably cant even tell a difference.

I think the real game charger that the Nexus line is pricing. Instead of charging a premium for storage like Apple does, offering a better display, better hardware and an OS that is light years ahead of iOS, theyre undercutting Apple/MS and taking away marketshare.

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 13:16

28. Pings (Posts: 303; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

I agree. The Google Nexus family are "game on" products. I would say Android 4.0,4.1,4.2+ are true game changers.

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 11:49 12

2. Aaron_R96 (Posts: 198; Member since: 22 Jan 2012)

Agree! Google went all out with kick-ass features on all of the 3 Nexus' they announced this year, using price, form and just pure brilliant technology in them all.

In my opinion, it will be especially the pricing of the Nexus 4 which will (hopefully) change the smartphone market for good next year! I do worry about other Android OEM's whose profit margins are already small - and worry this could lead to Apple to pull further ahead in terms of total revenue however..

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 11:50 15

3. nwright94 (unregistered)

I agree. Here come the complaints about the galaxy note II not being your pick though :/

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 11:55 3

4. Aaron_R96 (Posts: 198; Member since: 22 Jan 2012)

Experienced this on the innovation award yesterday didn't we? :/ ready for round 2...?

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 12:02 5

6. nwright94 (unregistered)

Yeah that's what I'm referencing haha. He will probably be in here flooding the comments shortly.

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 12:43 3

18. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4839; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)

I just WANT PhoneArena.com to at least mention the 1080p HD screens that will be the standard for years to come.

Seems we are going to repeat yesterdays innovation fiasco all over. lol

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 13:02 1

25. Aaron_R96 (Posts: 198; Member since: 22 Jan 2012)

Yeah i agree! I added a comment tonight on the innovation one agreeing with you haha! Can't wait for it to be the new standard for high end next year, DNA, Sony Odin & Yuga, Galaxy S4 (presumably) etc etc

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 13:08

26. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4839; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)

Exactly. Let the 1080p WARS begin! lol


posted on 05 Dec 2012, 01:04 1

49. XiphiasGladius (Posts: 813; Member since: 21 Aug 2011)

Hey man, you already have the DNA? if so then how good is adreno 320 in processing all that pixels?

posted on 05 Dec 2012, 07:45

54. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4839; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)

The HTC Droid DNA with the quad-core Qualcomm Krait S4 Pro with the Adreno 320 is just EPIC. The chipset is SO powerful that I can under clock it from 1.5GHz to 1.0GHz & the machine runs incredibly smooth.

The 1080p SLCD-3 is so frugal with its power consumption that the battery life is just incredible. The phone with a 5" 1080p HD screen & quad-core processor is almost 3 times more efficient that the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

I got 2 days 16 hours on a single charge with about 3 to 3 and half hours of screen on time. That is with NORMAL usage. My GNex on normal usage would last 1 day 3 hours with about 1 hour & 6 to 12 minutes of screen on time.

I can honestly say the HTC Droid DNA is GREAT with battery usage. Also pushing all those pixels is NO problem.

posted on 05 Dec 2012, 09:19

55. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

Welcome to the fuuuuuuuuuuuuuutuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuure.. The DNA doesnt have 4.2 on it. You can kiss some of that battery life goodbye when it gets updated. :(

I run my nexus4 at 800mhz. Give it a shot. I still get no performance drops. and the difference in battery life from stock speeds is tremendous.

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 11:59

5. gazmatic (Posts: 795; Member since: 06 Sep 2012)

yes. high specs but low price... that is what I'm talking about... hopefully the price will drop even further... I still say that $600 for a 64gb phone is too much...

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 12:07 4

7. MeoCao (unregistered)

My picks are:

1. Nexus 7: High specs, low price concept has changed the landscape for Android tablets and great value for consumers. It also helped hugely strengthen Google Play.

2. Nexus 4: Affordable price and successful direct selling to consumers threaten to disrupt old sales model where carriers decide everything.

3. HTC Butterfly J/Droid DNA: Set new standard for phone screen.

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 12:29 1

11. lzsbleach (Posts: 155; Member since: 20 May 2012)

HTC butter fly is not a game changer but its a decent phone. The Note 2 would be considered a game changer with its use of S Pen, multi-app use and changing the phablet market from a Niche market to mainstream. The Note series gave birth to the HTC butterfly which is the first phone with a 1080p screen (WOW sarcastically) but they didnt even set a trend because 1080p screens already been in development before the butterfly came out.

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 12:39 2

16. MeoCao (unregistered)

Note 2 is a great phone but it changes nothing. It continues the business model of OG Note. OG Note was a game changer.

On the other hand HTC Butterfly J has changed the thinking of people about screen resolution. most people were fooled by Apple's Retina marketing ploy according to which anything higher than iPhone's pixel density is waste.

HTC Butterfly J has proved that is wrong and set new trend that top phones must follow.

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 13:34 5

30. richardyarrell2011 (banned) (Posts: 510; Member since: 16 Mar 2011)

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is not a phone it's the ultimate productivity/all purpose device ever made. If you want a phone by the Nexus 4, Htc Dna, Droid Razr Maxx Hd. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is something all together on it's own level.

posted on 05 Dec 2012, 06:54

53. infinitemethod (Posts: 149; Member since: 04 Sep 2012)

I disagree. Sure the Note 1 was the first of its kind, however, Samsung managed to add .5" all the while making it less wide and slimmer. Now that in and of itself isnt a huge deal, but it most definitely makes me more appealing for such a big device.

Having full hd display is nice but that does nothing for me. Features and functionality are game changers. Go try out the Galaxy Note 2, s mutli window feature and tell me that that isnt an amazing feature, not to mention a very useful one.

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 12:49 2

20. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4839; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)

I don't think you get how difficult it is to fit OVER 2 million pixels in a small 5" diagonal screen. I am sorry my good friend but that IS a game changer. It's actually the new world standard for high-end smartphones/phablets.

Apple was always given credit for their "Retina" display when in fact it was LG who was responsible NOT Apple. So if it works for Apple then it works for HTC.

HTC WAS the first with a TRUE 1080p HD SLCD screen on a mobile device even though the 1080p display is Sharp’s doing. So HTC is due some props.

posted on 06 Dec 2012, 01:30

57. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)

htc didn't make that screen. they bought it. Screen standalone should be a game changer? please.

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 12:11 1

8. gwuhua1984 (Posts: 1237; Member since: 06 Mar 2012)

Definitely agree with this article. Altho, I do think the Nexus 10 could of looked better, something like the Galaxy Note 10.1.

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 12:23 2

10. MeoCao (unregistered)

Only one thing I disagree: N10 design is the best I've seen in tablets, the only thing I wish is the cover is not convenient to use.

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 12:54

22. gwuhua1984 (Posts: 1237; Member since: 06 Mar 2012)

We got different artistic taste, I respect that.

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 12:18 4

9. _Bone_ (Posts: 2154; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)

Say my name!

N... Nexus!

You're goddamn right!

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 12:29

12. doubler86 (Posts: 320; Member since: 26 Jan 2011)

I would have said the Galaxy S3, or at least as a runner up. This phone changed everything this year really. If you remember at the beginning of the year it really was all about apple in most people's eyes. The iPhone 5 would be the biggest phone of the year and then the Galaxy S3 came out and brought specs and especially features that no other android had ever had before. It really did change the scope of how the rest of the year would play out with phones trying to compete again the Galaxy S3. Even reviewers such as here and myself compared every phone that came out to the Galaxy S3 and the phone to beat instead of the iPhone which had been the trend for years in the past.

Even the Note should be an honorable mention. Although now it might seem like a memory, but it showed that the 5" mark could be acceptable by consumers and which led to other phones pushing even closer to that. After all the dell streak that first tried this before was a horrible failure.

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 12:32

13. kach22 (Posts: 153; Member since: 04 Nov 2011)

I don't see any strong reasons why I should not agree with this article.

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 12:38

14. SportDriver (Posts: 31; Member since: 07 Nov 2012)

Agree totaly.This are great products.

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 12:43

17. xtremesv (Posts: 297; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)

I totally agree. What chances have profit-margin-centric companies against these bargain prices, practically none. At the end, enterprises like Apple with overpriced offerings will be relegated to niche markets... History is repeating itself.

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 12:45

19. rbiowa (Posts: 6; Member since: 04 Dec 2012)

We'll have to wait and see if the general public agrees or continues to buy every Apple iPad/iPhone they can produce.

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 12:54

21. SonyXperiaNexus (Posts: 374; Member since: 01 Oct 2012)

agree with all but the nexus 4. its a good device but why should it be considered a game-changer? the lumia 920 is a gamechanger for microsoft and nokia sort of.

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 14:01

32. tedkord (Posts: 11712; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)

Its the most game changing device on the list - it literally turned the carrier model on its ear. A top of the line phone sold unlocked, contact free for $300.

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 14:38

34. Zero0 (Posts: 592; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)


The Nexus 7 was almost predictable. Amazon already made a $200 tablet months before that. It was only a matter of time before improvements brought more powerful tablets to that price point.

The Nexus 10 is only slightly under-priced. The processor is outstanding, but that's what happens when the latest ARM architecture is used. The display, too, is outstanding, but overall, probably not a game changer in comparison to the Retina Display.

There's a reason Nexus 4s are nearly impossible to obtain, and you just said it.

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 12:55 1

23. sats.mine2k4 (banned) (Posts: 208; Member since: 10 Aug 2012)

Can't agree more.... I don't have the nexus 4 in hand yet, but i have a nexus 10 and i got addicted to it within day, It's the most amazing piece of tech i have ever held...and i held the ipad 4 and the surface RT...

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 14:39 1

35. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)

I absolutely agree.
A lot of vendors could get hurt by this Google move, but who cares when users are on the win with the phenomenally fair priced, high tech products!

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 16:03

36. andynaija (Posts: 898; Member since: 08 Sep 2012)

I think the HTC HD2 was a game changer in touchscreen size.

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 17:04

37. moronman66 (Posts: 162; Member since: 09 Jan 2012)

I dunno, I don't quite think they change the game, but I guess I can see somewhat how they would do that, although it's kind of a stretch... They are a family of products that get the newest software updates, offer incredible value for their prices (200 for a quad-core, 7 inch tablet, 350 for a quad core phone, 400 for arguable the best tablet available to-date), and I guess there isn't really anything else besides incremental upgrades, like the 1080p display, it's amazing and awesome, but it's still just the next step up from 720p, the iPhone 5 isn't anything to write home about, and now the high-end standard is Quad Core with 2 GB of RAM. Summary of this very long comment: What else would really be a game changer? I can't defend their choice too much, but I would like to know what really major things happened this year in technology that weren't just incremental upgrades? I can't think of much else...

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 17:44

38. tward291 (Posts: 559; Member since: 14 Feb 2012)

how is the nokia 808 not a pick that's some bulls**t

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 18:26 2

43. chaoticrazor (Posts: 2347; Member since: 28 Aug 2012)

because this isnt about innovation

you can argue the 808 is a game changer for camera's but right now it has been adopted to the mainstream market.

the nexus lot, offer more then competitors at a lower price. all about price they changed the game with there pricing which could mean others will have to adapt to compete ........within reason

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 18:02

41. MC1123 (Posts: 1255; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)

this is actully a pretty good family...

game changing, yes coz they are offered to low end market!

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 18:50 1

44. Edmund (Posts: 656; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)

phone arena just couldn't help themselves by appeasing the android fanboys.

This is how many OEM's are likely to discount their products to compete with the nexus line - ZERO! How google has managed to avoid being slapped with an anti-competitive lawsuit is beyond me, but I dare say it's coming.

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 19:51

47. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)

so, then they should have made the iphone 5 the winner?

posted on 05 Dec 2012, 02:37

50. SonyXperiaNexus (Posts: 374; Member since: 01 Oct 2012)

Yeah apple totally changed their game with a bigger screen and 5th row of icons! how was it not included!!!???

posted on 05 Dec 2012, 05:22

51. GUNDAM (Posts: 63; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)

loooool ;)

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 19:51

46. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)

Maybe they should have called this award - Game difference maker....

posted on 04 Dec 2012, 20:30 1

48. Edmund (Posts: 656; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)

I don't even use an iphone idiot. Unless google plans to subsidize all oem tablets running android, I really don't see how the nexus range changes anything. Manufacturers will stop making android tablets before they agree to a huge loss; Now that's "game changing" I guess.

posted on 05 Dec 2012, 09:20

56. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

hey PA, we agree on a topic for once :)

Nexus premium products at bargain pricing for the win. Hell, im ordering a second N4 for the wifey. She'd rather wait for that to ship than spend twice as much to get something else now. Smart lady. :)

posted on 06 Dec 2012, 01:31

58. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)

I don't understand why there is no Windows Phone. Lumia 920 has so many innovations, not bought but ade by Nokia, that it should be at least mentioned.

posted on 14 Dec 2012, 04:23

59. ghanemsam (Posts: 64; Member since: 21 Nov 2012)

where is the HTC Droid DNA ?????? i think this beast is a game changer in the world of smart phones but why should phonearena chose it its not from apple or or samsung ????!!!!!

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