Today, at a press event in Hong Kong Google and Samsung together announced the availability of Google’s newest reference phone and OS. This announcement comes on the heels of what was previously expected to be the launch (last week at CTIA). Although Samsung and Google claim that they delayed the launch due to Steve Jobs’ death, the likelihood is that there were some software or legal issues that caused the delays. Nevertheless, today we now have Google’s new Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system which brings together their previously separate tablet and phone operating systems. In addition to creating unification between systems, Android 4.0 brings a lot of new optimizations and improvements over Honeycomb (3.0-3.2) and Gingerbread (2.3).
The Galaxy Nexus will be running this new OS will be running on some of the fastest hardware available today. This includes the Texas Instruments OMAP 4460 dual core processor running at 1.2GHz which would put it in the upper echelon of Android powered devices. In addition to the fast SoC, the Nexus Prime also features the highest resolution display yet on a mass production smartphone. It features a curved Super AMOLED 1280x720P resolution display at 4.65” which results in a pixel density of 316 ppi which compares against the iPhone’s 326 ppi. This means that its visual density is very comparable to the iPhone, but it is a whole inch bigger with a much better quality display. Having a 720P display means that most if not all web pages, eBooks and movies will look amazing in terms of quality and ease of use. This is all accomplished with a razor thin bezel which makes the phone feel the same size as a phone with a smaller screen. All of this fitting into a 135.5 x 67.9 x 8.9 mm body meaning that the Galaxy Nexus is less than 9mm thick and weighs only 135g.
The Galaxy Nexus
also features a 5MP camera with instant capture as well as 1080P video at 30FPS. This seems a little disappointing considering that most of the flagship HTC devices out there today are available with 8MP or better cameras. We will see whether or not this is a point of contention with consumers. The Galaxy Nexus will also support two different wireless ‘4G’ standards in coming in both LTE and HSPA+ versions. This will likely mean that consumers on Verizon can expect to get the Galaxy Nexus. Unfortunately for Sprint customers, their network does not support HSPA+ or LTE. The Galaxy Nexus also features a 1750mAh battery in order to give consumers the best battery life of any LTE device. The device will also feature NFC which will enable Google’s Android Beam sharing service which enables instant sharing of YouTube videos, Google Maps, Contact cards and Videogames.
With Android 4.0 they introduced a new operating system featuring the new ROBOTO UI. ROBOTO features a bold and typographical UI with open spaces that get that magazine-like feel with quality designed content. Google also redesigned the lock screen to enable launch to camera as well as unlock form the lock screen. There are also no physical buttons anymore as there are virtual buttons which can be properly made based on the device’s size and usage. Android also borrowed the feature from iOS with folders, but with more flexibility. In addition to that, users can drop their favorite apps into a favorite bar to keep them always available.
Also, Android 4.0 will also allow you to multi-task and open applications that were already running and close them by swyping them to the side if you no longer want them running. Furthermore, Google has finally included screen shots natively as part of Android and you no longer need to use the Android SDK in order to take them. This is done by hitting the power button and the volume down button in order to save the screenshot straight to the gallery. Also, notifications can now be viewed from the lock screen and be selected based on priority. They also added improved the unlock screen password feature by simply enabling the phone to use your face with face recognition. They’ve also included manual photo editing in-phone in addition to the instant photo capture. Google also updated the gallery application which looks much cleaner and smoother as well as adding in a panorama feature which captures panorama in-camera.
With the fastest Android software available to date combined with the fastest Android hardware to date, there is a great chance that we can expect to see one of the smoothest running smartphones available to date with some of the greatest feature sets available to date. We’re a little hesitant about the camera’s resolution but we’re hoping that Google and Samsung’s software is so strong that it won’t actually be an issue. Either way, we don't doubt that someone like HTC or Motorola will come out with a Dual Core Android 4.0 device with a better camera anyways. Competition is good and Android has plenty of it.
The Galaxy Nexus
will be available around the world in November and the Android Ice Cream Sandwich SDK is already available.
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