We've come to the end of another year, and as we wave goodbye to 2011, we figured it was only fitting that we share the most popular stories published on Gear Live this year, as determined by our readers (we've also got the top ten most read stories regardless of publish date, as well as the ten most popular Gear Live videos of 2012!) These are the ten stories that were read the most, and when you consider that fact, it's pretty surprising to see what made the list. Let's kick it off with our most read story of the year:
iPhone 5 vs. iPhone 4S vs. iPhone original:
iPhone 5 certainly got a lot of attention this year, and our image gallery comparing it to previous iPhone designs served as our most popular post in all of 2012.
When Google Music came to Europe, it brought a new feature not available in the US -- Scan and Match. It's similar to iTunes Match, whereas it scans your local music collection and puts them in the cloud so that you don't have to.
After downloading the Music Manager, it will match your songs up with Google's, and begin "uploading" your songs into the cloud at a rate of about 30 seconds per album. After your music is in the cloud, you can listen to it on different devices, even iOS if you use Google's HTML5 web app.
Now US users are able to take advantage of this feature. It's free, and automatic for the most part, so you won't have to go through the cumbersome process of backing up your digital music collection solo.
Read More | Google
The new version of Google Play Books for Android has a new feature that reads books to users on its own. The feature is titled, obviously, "read aloud," and works with most books without the need for the book to come with a "read aloud" enabled feature.
You'll also find a new pinch-to-zoom feature, as well as double-tap-to-zoom. Further, the app now makes recommendations on other books you might find enjoyable after you finish reading one book. Though, if you're like me, you prefer to soak in the totality of a one book world before even thinking about diving into another.
Read More | Google Play
Android 4.1, or Jelly Bean, contains the features Galaxy S III owners on other carriers are used to by now, such as Project Butter, Google Now, camera improvements, notifications, widgets and an improved interface.
US Cellular hasn't released an exact time of day that users can expect the update, as they have to be pretty anxious by now, but what we do know is that the update can be done over the air, or over USB.
Read More | US Cellular
The vulnerability leaves these devices open to malware downloaded in remote apps, which can then read user data and even brick your phone completely. "The good news is we can easily obtain root on these devices and the bad is there is no control over it," said xda-developers user Alephzain. Usually, vulnerabilities like this require physical access to the phone, while this vulnerability allows it to be attacked from apps downloaded from the Google Play Store.
Samsung is apparently aware of the problem, but has not publicly acknowledged the problem. Millions of devices are reportedly at risk right now as public knowledge of the issue spreads.
Read More | The Verge
Ray Kurzweil announced via his blog that he is joining Google to work on projects that consisting of machine learning and language processing.
"I'm excited to share that I'll be joining Google as Director of Engineering this Monday, December 17," Kurzweil said. "I've been interested in technology, and machine learning in particular, for a long time: when I was 14, I designed software that wrote original music, and later went on to invent the first print-to-speech reading machine for the bling, among other inventions. I've always worked to create practical systems that will make a difference in people's lives, which is what excites me as an inventor."
Kurzweil will serve as a Director of Engineering, though it's not clear on how immediate Kurzweil's focus will be on consumer products.
Read More | Kurzweil
If you're an AT&T customer sporting a Samsung Galaxy S III, today is the day that you finally get to update your smartphone to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. This means you get access to Google Now, better notifications, low light photo mode, as well as all the fixes and knowledge that you're on the (almost) latest and greatest. Get the Android 4.1 update now by hitting the source link.
Read More | Samsung
Read More | Google Apps Developer
Microsoft has given relief to Android business users as a native Outlook.com app made its way to the Google Play Store. The Exchange ActiveSync protocol is standard for business and Enterprise professionals. Unfortunately, the functionality is lacking in many older Android handsets. So, the initial user reviews of the app seem mixed but it's better than nothing. Check out the features after the quick jump.
Read More | Google Play Store
Rumor has it that Google is about to take on Apple's AirPlay with an open version of its own. So, it appears that DNLA and Miracast functionality is not enough for the Mountain View web search giant. No wonder, as both features are somewhat of a bag of hurt and have received lackluster reviews.
Google will attempt to get other venders to adopt its open streaming alternative and, perhaps, have the same huge success that AirPlay is having with customers. Apple has had vendors like Denon, Panasonic, JBL, Pioneer, Philips, Yamaha, Logitiech, iHome and Bower & Wilkins, to name a few, that have integrated AirPlay functionality into consumer products.
Read More | Gigaom