Samsung Galaxy Nexus Costs $99 at Amazon

Amazon Wireless is selling the Samsung Galaxy Nexus for $99 on contract to new Verizon Wireless smartphone subscribers for a limited time.

Consumers may purchase the Samsung Galaxy Nexus for $99 from Amazon Wireless for a limited time, a $200 discount, the e-commerce giant said Jan. 26.

The stipulation for this deal is that consumers must sign up for a new Verizon Wireless contract, including individual or family plans.

The Galaxy Nexus, which Verizon began selling Dec. 15 for $299.99 on contract, is the first smartphone to launch with Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system.

The software borrows capabilities from the Android Honeycomb branch for tablets, such as the holographic user interface, and other perks, such as better multitasking, and notifications.

The Galaxy Nexus includes Android Beam, an application that leverages the phone's near field communications (NFC) chip to let users tap two of the phones together to swap YouTube videos, other Web content and apps.

The Nexus also uses Face Unlock, a phone authentication measure that uses facial detection software to let users unlock their phone by staring at its front-facing camera for a couple seconds.

eWEEK tested Face Unlock and many others on the Galaxy Nexus in December and found this phone to be super snappy, thanks to its 1.2GHz dual-core CPU.

The smartphone is also a Google app user's dream, thanks to the Google Mobile widget on the homescreen. Users may access Gmail, YouTube, Google Search, Google Maps, Maps Navigation, Google Books, Google Music, Google+, Google+ Messenger, Google Talk, Android Market, and Google Calendar all from the widget.

The Galaxy Nexus sale comes six weeks after Amazon offered the same phone for $149.99 with a two-year deal from Verizon as part of a pre-Christmas sale.

The Galaxy Nexus is the latest in a long line of Android sales Amazon's wireless unit has been offering on behalf of Verizon and other carriers such as AT&T (NYSE:T), Sprint (NYSE:S) and T-Mobile.

Amazon has held 1 penny-smartphone sales for nearly every smartphone it sells. The hook is that the carriers want to practically give the hardware away to secure consumers' data contracts, generally costing $1,000 or more, for the next two years.