Google's Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" has hit the streets, at least in the U.K., where Samsung's Galaxy Nexus smartphone launched last week.
Google seeded some gadget Websites with the GSM version of the handset. I'm waiting on Verizon Wireless' version. In the meantime, here is what people are saying about the shiny new OS and handset.
AnandTech said the browser is fast, beating the Motorola Droid Razr -- which I have tested and found to be super fast --, Apple's iPhone 4S, and plenty of others:
The Galaxy Nexus phone uses the Texas Instruments OMAP 4460 processor, which isn't as powerful compared to ARM's Mali 400 (Samsung Exynos 4210) and the SGX 543MP2 (Apple A5) in Apple's iPhone 4S and iPad 2, respectively.
Here's a big strategic move. TechCrunch noted that anyone who enters their Google account credentials into the Galaxy Nexus will be prompted to sign up for Google+. See the screenshot right.
Okay, so that gives you an idea of just how front and center Google wants its social network to be for users. But the blog also noted users will be asked to enter their credit card data to make purchases in the Android Market.
What might the users purchase? Tunes via Google Music for one thing. Apps via Chrome Web Store. Over time, Google Offers and the Google Wallet mobile payment service will be more tightly integrated on phones, driving additional commerce for the company.
In other words the ICS phones will be little commerce nodes for millions of consumers, or so Google and its partners hope.
Quick hitter: You can't run Adobe's Flash on ICS phones... yet. That means some Websites simply won't load for you.
Slashgear said Google believes Adobe will support ICS with Flash, the mobile plug-in it will ultimately abandon as it seeks to move toward HTML5. Tick. Tock.
> Finally, here are some of the early reviews about the Galaxy Nexus:
USA Today: "Even from the Samsung Galaxy Nexus lock screen, you get a sense that this Google-backed Android smartphone is going to be different from all those that came before it. The reason: You can unlock the screen by quite literally showing your face."
Wired: "More importantly, the ICS home screen just looks right. The newly revamped interface is replete with cool blues, metallic grays and lots of swishy animated effects. Much of the enchanting vibe would be lost on an inferior display, but the Galaxy Nexus' 1280 x 720 Super AMOLED screen delivers all the crisp, clear image quality that makes hardcore mobile enthusiasts flock to Samsung display technology."
Mashable: "With that large size comes a gorgeous screen. If the term "1280 x 720-pixel Super AMOLED high-definition display" doesn't mean much to you, suffice to say that even when a screen measures a huge 4.65 inches diagonally, that high number of pixels is still tightly packed onto the screen, resulting in an exquisitely sharp view. If a screen were any sharper than this, it would be hard to tell the difference unless you had super-human eyesight."
Those superlatives work for you? They certainly make me want to test ICS on the Galaxy Nexus.