Samsung and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) introduced the Galaxy Nexus, based on the new Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” operating system, Oct. 18 in Hong Kong. The high-end, 4G Long-Term Evolution/Evolved High-Speed Packet Access (LTE/HSPA+) smartphone has a 4.65-inch, high-definition Super active-matrix organic LED (Super AMOLED) screen with 1,280 by 720 resolution, a 1.2GHz processor, a 1,750mAh battery and dual cameras.
While the partners promised to launch the device in November, neither the platform provider nor the OEM would reveal who would carry the phone in the U.S. or abroad.
That Verizon would be the first U.S. carrier should come as no surprise. The company passed on selling a version of Samsung’s high-end Galaxy S II Android 2.3 Gingerbread handset, which has sold over 10 million units worldwide.
This move prompted many to speculate that Verizon would be the first to launch the Galaxy Nexus, the latest in a line of smartphones whose software choices are hand-picked by the search engine provider as part of a “pure Google” branding play.
With Verizon’s announcement, that speculation appeared to prove true, and not a moment too soon.
Verizon sold 2 million smartphones, compared with 2.7 million sold by rival AT&T. More than half of Verizon’s smartphones were Android handsets.
Meanwhile, Ice Cream Sandwich features a number of new software perks, such as the holographic user interface and software navigation from Android Honeycomb tablet software.
There is also Face Unlock, a facial-detection application to let users access their phones, and Android Beam, which allows users to share Web pages, applications and YouTube videos with friends by tapping ICS phones together.
The latter application is enabled by near-field communication (NFC) technology, which is becoming increasingly prevalent on Android phones.