AS PREDICTED Samsung and Google have announced the latest Nexus smartphone running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and, we must say, it looks quite tasty.
The name is slightly different than we expected, with the phone being called the Galaxy Nexus rather than the Nexus Prime and therefore using Samsung's branding. It looks similar to the Nexus S with a few nice changes.
One of the main things is a larger, higher resolution screen. It's now 4.65in instead of 4in and has a mouth-watering 720x1280 resolution. This is up from 480x800 and gives a pixel density of 316 dpi, only 10 short of the that on Apple's Iphone 4 and Iphone 4S. Once again the screen is Super AMOLED and curved.
The phone is slimmer than before at 8.94mm compared to the 10.88mm of the Nexus S. It's nice to see the handset getting thinner, unlike the Iphone 4S which is no thinner or lighter than its predecessor. The Galaxy Nexus is a little heavier than the Nexus S, 11g to be precise, but it is a larger handset so the weight gain is understandable.
Samsung has upgraded the hardware with a new processor, camera, internal memory and battery. The processor is a 1.2GHz dual-core chip to match that of the Galaxy S II and is a little faster than the 1GHz chip found in the Nexus S.
It's a bit of a surprise and a disappointment that the camera remains at 5MP. This means it falls short of those on rival phones such as the Iphone 4S and HTC Sensation. However, it has been improved and can now record video in HD 1080p and has a neat trick up its sleeve where it can take a panoramic shot with one movement of the phone.
There is the option of 16GB or 32GB of internal storage. This is not as much as the largest Iphone 4S, at 64GB, and you can't expand this since the handset doesn't have a microSD card slot. As we would expect the battery has been upgraded to 1750mAh to cope with the larger and higher resolution screen.
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) will come pre-loaded on the Galaxy Nexus and this will be the first handset it comes on. The operating system has been optimised for high definition displays with things like a new font and the elimination of hardware buttons.
Some new and neat features that ICS offers are facial recognition to unlock phones, the ability to share data through near field communications (NFC) with Android Beam, updated notifications, improved multitasking, a better keyboard, resizable widgets and tighter integration with Google+.
Apps such as the browser and Gmail client have been improved and overall the latest version of Android looks brilliant. It has arrived just in time after Apple released IOS 5 last week.
We saw Apple make a big hoohaw about Siri, its voice controlled personal assistant for the Iphone 4S. Well there has been no such focus on this side of things with ICS. Google does say that the voice control is better, though, with the ability to dictate large amounts of text via an ‘open microphone'.
The Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone will be out next month and, for a while at least, it will be the flagship Android device. Unfortunately we don't know how much it will cost and this will be a key element to its success. We like the look of the phone and can't wait to get our hands on it. Hopefully it will retail for less than the equivalent Iphone 4S model, which is pretty pricey. µ