While the world may be looking at Samsung with loving eyes thanks to the wild success of the Galaxy line, I wouldn’t call 2013 the year of the Samsung. Instead, I’m prepared to give that title to the folks at Motorola with a dose of LG on the side. There’s little question that Motorola roared back this year with the Moto X and the Moto G just boosted their game at the very end of the year. That’s not to say LG didn’t have a great year, but with the success and great reviews of the Nexus 5 comes disappointing sales of their flagship the LG G2.
The Moto X is a device that deserves plenty of attention and recognition for the Motorola folks even if some would argue that it lacks the flagship “panache” of devices like the Galaxy S 4 or HTC One. As Moto Maker provides an opportunity to customize your device with over 2,000 possibilities and Active Display providing a unique and battery saving look at new messages and emails, the Moto X is a flagship device that truly deserves the title.
Motorola’s next achievement in 2013 was the release of the Moto G, their “don’t call it a premium smartphone” with high-end specs that rival devices far more expensive. Already on Android 4.4, the Moto G marks Motorola’s entry into the low-end market to try to steal marketshare away from rivals like Samsung whose similarly-priced low-end devices are vastly inferior in almost every conceivable way.
All this isn’t to say that LG didn’t have its own excellent year. The release of the G2, Nexus 5 and LG G Pad 8.3 showed that LG is still in the Android game. It’s been said that LG isn’t seeing the kind of sales of the G2 it had hoped, but there’s little question they produced outstanding hardware that has bested the Galaxy S 4 in most tech-blog shootouts. The release of the Nexus 5 was not without issues especially as early camera reviews indicated a sub-par experience. Thanks to Google’s quick actions, an update to the Nexus 5 camera was quickly pushed out and by most accounts improved the overall camera experience. The G Pad doesn’t have the pizzazz of the Nexus 7 or the marketing of the iPad mini, but its a fantastic tablet on its own and deserves far more attention than its receiving.
It might be easy to argue that Samsung deserves the OEM award of the year with two flagship devices selling millions shortly after launch. HTC had its own troubles this year but its hard to argue that the HTC One wasn’t a very good device. Still, Samsung had a year that’s been similar to years past but Motorola and LG turned out devices this year that put them firmly back on the map and for that reason, we’re giving Motorola the edge but they both deserve a round of applause for 2013.