Galaxy Nexus Adds to Sprint's LTE Smartphone Lineup

Sprint will begin selling the Samsung Galaxy Nexus on April 22 for $199 with a two-year contract. It’s another Android 4, LTE device that looks to boost Sprint’s 4G smartphone offerings.

Sprint is still playing catch-up when it comes to Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology, but the carrier is now working overtime to fill its network with 4G-ready smartphones. Sprint plans to start selling the Samsung Galaxy Nexus April 22 for $199 with a two-year contract.

The Galaxy Nexus runs the Ice Cream Sandwich, or 4.0, version of Google€™s Android platform, which has been slowly making its way it way into the mainstream market. This version of Android is offered on a handful of devices and more are expected later this year as carriers such as Sprint, Verizon Wireless and AT&T offer more 4G coverage.

The Sprint version of the Galaxy Nexus€”Verizon already offers its own€”is also available for preorder starting April 16, and customers can receive their phones as early as April 20.

In the past month, Sprint has been slowly building up its inventory of 4G LTE devices to better compete against AT&T and Verizon. On April 4, Sprint and HTC announced the Evo 4G LTE smartphone, which also sports Android 4. That device goes on sale May 7.

Later this year, Sprint plans to roll out its own LTE network and move away from the WiMax system it€™s deployed with the help of Clearwire. In addition, Sprint plans to offer what it calls €œenhanced 3G€ service. While the carrier has yet to officially announce its LTE rollout, Sprint does plan a midyear deployment, starting in several cities, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City and San Antonio.

In addition to Android 4, the Galaxy Nexus offers a host of familiar features, including a 4.65-inch Super active-matrix organic LED (AMOLED) touch-screen display (1280 by 720p resolution) and a 1.2GHz, dual-core processor. The device offers two cameras€”a 5-megapixel, rear-facing one and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing one€”along with Google+ Hangouts, which allows users to have video chats. The rear-facing camera can also shoot video in 1080p.

The smartphone also offers a 1850mAh lithium-ion battery that provides 7.5 hours of talk time, plus 32GB of internal memory. The device measures 2.67-inches wide and 5.33-inches long. It€™s 0.37-inches thick and weighs 5.1 ounces.

The Galaxy Nexus also includes near-field communication (NFC) technology, as well as Google Wallet. Google has struggled to get Google Wallet adopted, and Verizon and AT&T have shied away from it. However, Sprint has been willing to gamble on the retail payment technology despite what some see as security holes.

Sprint also offers Google Voice technology for managing voice mail and phone numbers.

Since the Galaxy Nexus offers Ice Cream Sandwich, users can choose from a number of different software features. This includes Face Unlock, a facial-recognition feature that uses the owner's face to lock and unlock the phone without passwords.

For those interested in business, several little niceties come with the Galaxy Nexus, including mobile hotspot capabilities that allow the user to support up to 10 different WiFi devices.

While Sprint has struggled to catch up with the likes of Verizon and AT&T, Samsung is charging ahead with some of the most popular devices in the United States, thanks to its use of the Android operating system. A recent comScore report found that nearly a quarter of those 13 or older own a Samsung device, whether it€™s a phone or tablet. However, the Apple iPhone continues to gain in popularity, and the same report showed the company leapfrogging ahead of Motorola and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion.