2014 in review: Best stories and mobile devices, questions for 2015

2014 was another great year in the mobile space with Android dominating the smartphone space and Matthew Miller's top stories.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

In last year's year-end wrap-up article I offered up six questions for 2014. As 2014 closes, let's take a look at some answers and my mobile awards.

(Image: Apple)
Most viewed articles of 2014

  1. Griffin iPhone 6 Plus case roundup: Slim and stylish to rugged durability
  2. BlackBerry Passport review: World's best QWERTY in a uniquely functional form factor
  3. Best 10 smartphones for the 2014 holiday buying season
  4. Five reasons I prefer the Pebble smartwatch over the Samsung Galaxy Gear
  5. Best unlocked smartphones (February 2014)
  6. HTC One M8 review: More metal, same limited detail UltraPixel camera
  7. Top 10 smartphones of 2013: There's One that's best
  8. Six clicks: Top smartphones revealed at MWC 2014
  9. Apple Pay vs. Google Wallet: hands-on experiences at McDonald's
  10. HTC One (M8) case roundup: STM, OtterBox, and Tech21

I have to admit I was quite surprised by the popularity of my Griffin iPhone 6 Plus case article and am still not sure why it collected more pageviews than any other article on my two blogs this year. The HTC One M8 and BlackBerry Passport articles also garnered more attention than I anticipated.

Responses to questions from 2013

  • Will Windows Phone 8 continue to gain market share?: Despite my affection for Cortana and the Windows Phone UI, the platform remains stagnant.
  • What's going to happen when Microsoft owns Nokia's smartphone division?: It hasn't been long, but so far I am disappointed that there was no flagship launched as part of the adoption.
  • What will Apple bring with iOS 8 and the iPhone 6?: Apple shocked me by going from one of the smallest smartphones to one of the largest with the iPhone 6 Plus. iOS 8 is excellent and includes many of the top features we have seen on Android and Windows Phone.
  • What will BlackBerry look like in 2014 and will we see anymore BB 10 devices?: The BlackBerry Passport turned out to be an excellent, high end smartphone with much better Android support out of the box. The BlackBerry Classic was just launched and it looks like BlackBerry is on fairly solid ground for the moment.
  • What's coming next to Android?: Google rolled out Lollipop while manufacturers launched plenty of new smartphones. Android continues to attract millions of customers and is growing. Google also rolled out Android Wear and some compelling smartwatch options.
  • Will the HTC One II (or Two) be as great as the One?: The HTC One M8 is overall better than the One M7, but the camera was not improved as most of us hoped and the One did not get my top pick of the year.

Best of 2014

I have a few titles I would like to award to the devices, accessories, and software I checked out in 2014.

  • Best overall smartphone of the year: I just posted my Best 10 smartphones at the close of 2014 and the Apple iPhone 6 Plus (It keeps earning my SIM card when I need to carry just one phone.)
  • Best display: While LG was first with a QuadHD display, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 gets my pick for the best display of 2014.
  • Device that surprised me: I never gave much thought to Sony's devices, but the Sony Xperia Z3 almost took the top spot from the iPhone 6 Plus.
  • Best Android smartphone of the year: Sony Xperia Z3 (The Z3 has everything, including an audio experience that can't be beat.)
  • Best iOS device of the year: Apple iPhone 6 Plus (Massive battery, optical image stabilization, and more make it an easy pick.)
  • Best Windows Phone device of the year: Nokia Lumia 1520 (Yep, a 2013 phone is the best Microsoft can offer at this time.)
  • Best BlackBerry device of the year: BlackBerry Passport (It looks strange, but it's a joy to use.)
  • Best mobile operating system of the year: Apple iOS 8 (The best of Apple, Android, and Windows Phone in one stable operating system.)
  • Best smartwatch: Sony SmartWatch 3 (Advanced technology and ability to run without your phone are major advantages.)

Looking ahead to 2015

As we end 2014 and look to 2015, I am satisfied with my current active collection of the Apple iPhone 6 Plus, Sony Xperia Z3, Sony SmartWatch 3, and BlackBerry Passport. As mentioned in yesterday's MobileTechRoundup podcast it's tough for me to come up with many suggestions for major improvements and changes to the mobile landscape.

Here are a few questions I have for 2015:

  • Will Windows Phone 10 turn things around for Microsoft?
  • What's next for BlackBerry?
  • Will Google mess up another Nexus launch?
  • What does HTC have up its sleeve in 2015?
  • Will consumers widely adopt smartwatches and wearable tech?

What was your favorite smartphone, tablet, or wearable of the year? How about your worst?

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