Verizon Wireless' rollout of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone may have been delayed, but a few devices have made their way into the eager hands of some Android fans hungry for Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) new Ice Cream Sandwich build.
Droid Life reported that someone snagged a Galaxy Nexus early from a Verizon store, which had received the phones in anticipation of a Dec. 9 launch. David Fayram, a senior software engineer for CrowdFlower, scored one of the hallowed handsets from Best Buy, which accidentally sold it to him.
The 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) handset, powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, was reportedly delayed as Verizon and Google hashed out a compromise to include the Google Wallet mobile-payment application on the device.
Fayram, who has modified the Ice Cream Sandwich build to run on his Samsung Galaxy S smartphone, said the phone comes in a white box, lined by red paper on the inside. While the phone is a "pure Google Experience" phone, it did come with some Verizon bloatware, including the "My Verizon Mobile" and the Verizon Migration Assistant.
"It looks like a cutting-edge phone, without all the ostentation and outrageous materials of the Droid Razr," Fayram said in a post on his Google+ page.
He also said the phone is incredibly fast on Verizon's 4G LTE network. "I can't even really explain to you how much faster this phone feels than any AT&T phone I've ever touched. The iPhone 4S' browser feels like a dog in comparison when you're not on the WiFi, and I'm convinced this is nearly all network time now."
Surprisingly, Fayram also reported good battery life for the Galaxy Nexus despite the phone's blazing-fast processing speeds.
This is a welcome relief; all of Verizon's 4G LTE phones to date have been power mongers. Read the rest of Fayram's post for more technical details on the phone's 4.65-inch, high-definition 720p (1,280x720) Super active-matrix organic LED (Super AMOLED) display.
While Fayram and others were lucky enough to snag a new Nexus, the latest indication is that the phone will go on sale Dec. 15 for $299.99, though Verizon has yet to confirm this. Moreover, neither Verizon nor Best Buy would comment for this report.
Google triggered a furor last week when it said Verizon asked it not to include the Wallet application on the Nexus.
Verizon spokesperson Jeffrey Nelson told eWEEK the reports that Verizon is blocking Google Wallet on the Galaxy Nexus are false. Rather, Verizon is engaged in ongoing commercial discussions on the matter, he said.
"Google Wallet does not simply access the operating system and basic hardware of our phones like thousands of other applications," he added. "Instead, in order to work as architected by Google, Google Wallet needs to be integrated into a new, secure and proprietary hardware element in our phones."
Nelson also noted that Verizon is working to provide expanded services that will provide the best security and user experience in the market around mobile commerce. This is likely an allusion to the company's joint Isis mobile-payment effort with AT&T (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile.
After spending millions of dollars building Isis, slated to roll out in 2012, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile all have a competitive interest in shutting Google Wallet out. Like Google Wallet, Isis banks on near-field communication (NFC) technology to conduct payments via smartphones and cash terminals.
As the first Ice Cream Sandwich phone, the Galaxy Nexus should sell well for Verizon, which, no doubt, counts it along with the Motorola Droid Razr as one of its key holiday sales drivers.