Leading the Android army into 2012, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus will be the first phone to feature the "Ice Cream Sandwich" Android OS and substantially outpaces the iPhone 4.
A New Droid Leader?
With Apple's decision to offer a mid-life upgrade to the iPhone 4 rather than unveil the iPhone 5, it left the door open for others to steal the lead in cutting-edge phone design. Just weeks after Apple's launch, Samsung has taken up that mantle with the Galaxy Nexus, powered by Google's new edition of the Android OS.
The Samsung/Google event in Hong Kong had little new news, after the many recent leaks, but the Nexus Prime is now officially known as the Galaxy Nexus and is a slightly curved, large-screen design that loses Android's traditional three-button layout. There will be 16 and 32GB versions, but no 64GB monster.
UPDATE: It has just been confirmed by Samsung that the Verizon will get the Galaxy Prime first, sometime in November. Pricing still to be confirmed. You can read about that, and some rather distressed comments on Samsung's Facebook page.
Its sleek design is crammed with a 1.2GHz Samsung S5 processor, a 5-megapixel camera (both a little down on the rumors) and the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS offers features comparable to iOS 5. Will this phone sell over four million units in its opening weekend? Probably not, given that this will most likely be offered at a premium price, while the iPhone 4S has a decidedly midrange price point.
With a likely release date of November and no formal pricing announcement, it's hard to work out what to make of the smartphone, with the large AMOLED screen being the single most attractive feature. The version being shown was a HSPA+ edition; the LTE version which most metropolitan users will crave, is actually going to be a little thicker.
Everybody Loves Ice Cream
In fact, the new Ice Cream Sandwich edition of the Android OS seems to have be garnering more interest. For a start, no one knows which existing phones can be upgraded to it, so there's a certain amount of hoping going on. Feature-wise, there's the forward camera facial recognition unlock system, so only the owner has access to the phone's features. A neat anti-theft device, if rather a novelty.
There's a new data-usage manager to help keep those phone bills down and there's also ChatOn, a web-based messaging service that will rival RIM's BBM and Apple's new iMessage with apps coming for all makes of phone. The whole Android experience is smoother, sleeker and faster with an additional layer of polish. In fact, it'll soon be hard to tell the difference in overall experience between makes -- only the app stores will vary.
So, the Galaxy Prime is clearly highly desirable, but how much a dent it will make in the market remains to be seen, with most users hoping for Ice Cream Sandwich to appear on their device than an expensive upgrade.