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retrospective

A year ago, when someone asked me why I used an Android phone, I felt I had to go on the defensive. Tasker! Open source! Customization! Swype!

Today, people don’t ask why I use Android; they ask whether they can try mine. Android has become a legitimate mobile platform, and in this look back over the past year we’ll see how it got there.

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A lot has happened with Android this year: we’ve gone from Gingerbread to Ice Cream Sandwich (via Honeycomb); the Market’s had two big upgrades; Flash Player has been dropped; mobile games have really taken off; and more. On the other hand, Siri put Android Voice Actions to shame; Google withheld Android’s source; and lawsuits have been flung back and forth.

Read on for our overview of everything that happened in 2011!
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A simple poll for you this week: one question, two choices.

Android’s been through a lot this year: we started the year on 2.2 Froyo, and ended on 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The browser-based Market and the Amazon Appstore were both launched. Tablets came and went. Adobe Flash was dropped. And so much more – look out for my post this weekend summing up all the events of the year.

Personally, I think it’s amazing that when we launched this site at the start of the year, we were using QR codes to make it easier to download an app after reading a review, there was no tablet-optimised version of Android to worry about reviewing apps for, and it was still a frequent occurrence to run out of space for new apps on our internal phone storage. How things change.

But they don’t change in a vacuum. Google’s decade of voice recognition research have been eclipsed by Siri (how many people are aware of Google Voice Actions?), the ongoing patent wars have seemed to get nastier and nastier, and fragmentation is still a big complaint.

So what do you think? Overall, has Android ended the year on a high or a low? Vote in the poll and leave a comment to let us know.

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