Verizon Wireless began selling Samsung's Galaxy Nexus smartphone for $299.99 on contract online and in its retail stores Dec. 15, allowing Android fans awaiting the coveted gadget to exhale.
Android phone fans have craved the Galaxy Nexus since Samsung introduced the 4G LTE (Long-Term Evolution) smartphone powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor at a launch event in Hong Kong in October.
The Galaxy Nexus, the first device based on Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, launched in the U.K. in November, sporting a 4.65-inch HD Super AMOLED display.
Gadget geeks have been since raving about the device, which has software navigation buttons, better multitasking capabilities, an Android Beam app to let two phones exchange information and facial recognition software that lets users unlock their phones.
Verizon was supposed to begin selling the Galaxy Nexus in the United States Dec. 9, but the launch was reportedly delayed due to sticky negotiations over Google's Wallet app, which Verizon asked Google to omit on the Nexus.
Verizon took issue with the app's ability to secure user data. Google countered that Wallet, which stores data on an NFC chip, was plenty secure. Some eager Android fans were lucky enough to score Galaxy Nexus devices last week from Verizon retail stores and Best Buy, which accidentally sold them.
Wallet was not included on the Galaxy Nexus launching today, but will provide 4G LTE network speeds in over 190 markets in the United States.
The handset includes a new, 5-megapixel camera with a panorama mode and zero shutter lag, and 1080p video capture. There is also a 1.3MP camera on the phone's front for video chats via Google Talk, Qik and other chat apps.
A people app lets users browse photo profiles of friends, family and coworkers, and check their latest status updates from social networks such as Facebook and Google+. In a strategic move designed to drive more users to Google+, Google has designed the phone so that users who aren't already on Google+ may create an account right from the phone.
Another featured Google app is Google Music, which lets users upload up to 20,000 songs to the cloud and buy tunes from the Android Market for playing right on Galaxy Nexus and other computing devices that support Web connections.
The handset also features 1GB of RAM and 32GB of memory on board, along with a mobile hotspot capability that lets users share a 4G LTE or 3G connection with up to 10 WiFi-enabled devices for $30 a month.
Customers who purchase a Galaxy Nexus by Samsung must snag a Verizon Wireless Nationwide Talk plan beginning at $39.99 monthly access and a smartphone data package starting at $30 a month for 2GB of data.
The Galaxy Nexus will have about nine days' worth of pre-Christmas sales to try to steal some of the Apple iPhone 4S' thunder, which despite a clever marketing plan that makes iPhone fans seem like anxious fools won't likely be able to take share from those whose hearts remain with Apple.