PhoneArena Awards 2012: Game-changing Product

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. 

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



59. ghanemsam

Posts: 64; Member since: Nov 21, 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 ????!!!!!

58. jackhammeR

Posts: 1548; Member since: Oct 17, 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.

56. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 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. :)

48. Edmund

Posts: 656; Member since: Jul 13, 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.

46. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

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

44. Edmund

Posts: 656; Member since: Jul 13, 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.

47. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

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

50. SonyXperiaNexus

Posts: 374; Member since: Oct 01, 2012

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


Posts: 63; Member since: Jul 20, 2012

loooool ;)

41. MC1123

Posts: 1256; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

this is actully a pretty good family... game changing, yes coz they are offered to low end market!

38. tward291

Posts: 559; Member since: Feb 14, 2012

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

43. chaoticrazor

Posts: 2347; Member since: Aug 28, 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

37. moronman66

Posts: 162; Member since: Jan 09, 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...

36. andynaija

Posts: 1268; Member since: Sep 08, 2012

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

35. darac

Posts: 2156; Member since: Oct 17, 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!

23. sats.mine2k4

Posts: 208; Member since: Aug 10, 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...

21. SonyXperiaNexus

Posts: 374; Member since: Oct 01, 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.

32. tedkord

Posts: 17544; Member since: Jun 17, 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.

34. Zero0

Posts: 592; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

This. 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.

19. rbiowa

Posts: 7; Member since: Dec 04, 2012

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

17. xtremesv

Posts: 299; Member since: Oct 21, 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.

14. SportDriver

Posts: 31; Member since: Nov 07, 2012

Agree totaly.This are great products.

13. kach22

Posts: 153; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

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

12. doubler86

Posts: 320; Member since: Jan 26, 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.

9. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

Say my name! N... Nexus! You're goddamn right!

8. gwuhua1984

Posts: 1237; Member since: Mar 06, 2012

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

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.

22. gwuhua1984

Posts: 1237; Member since: Mar 06, 2012

We got different artistic taste, I respect that.

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.

11. lzsbleach

Posts: 155; Member since: May 20, 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.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless