Today Samsung along with Google officially announced the Galaxy Nexus, the first phone to run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. It’s planned to be released in November to US, Europe, and Asia through NTT DoCoMo in Japan. The Android’s UI has been tweaked considerably in Ice Cream Sandwich, to be as Google puts it, “a pure Google experience”. This therefore means no longer any manufacturer created skins. ICS has a cleaner interface and is driven entirely on screen. Much like what Nokia introduced with the Nokia N9 running MeeGo, there is no longer a need for any hardware buttons. The commands you commonly use, like Home, Back, and a multitask button, appear directly on the display.
The Galaxy Nexus features a 4.65-inch 1280 x 720 HD Super AMOLED screen with a reported 1/100th of a millisecond response time. It runs a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, has 1GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB internal memory, and a 1750mAh battery. It also has a front 1.3 megapixel camera for video calling, and a 5 megapixel camera with LED flash on the back. Samsung say it will take stills “with zero shutter lag” and video up to 1080p at 30fps. For connectivity there is Bluetooth 3.0, USB 2.0, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi (2.4GHz and 5GHz), and also NFC. It supports Pentaband HSPA+, and for some regions an LTE version will also be available. There still no USB-OTG support though it seems.
Inside this beauty there is an accelerometer, compass, gyroscope, and light/proximity sensors. Whats new is also the added a barometer that is quite unique. Even though packed with features, this device is at it’s thinnest point only 8.94mm and weighs 135g . The sleek design and the sharp 720p display makes this phone quite the looker, and with Android 4.0 it brings new crisp iconography, and the new custom font called Roboto.
New features include face recognition for unlocking the device and voice dictation that is now nearly instantaneous transcribing your speech. Speech recognition has really come into focus this year, with Apple’s iPhone 4S bringing Siri, Windows Phone TellMe and now Android has improved their similar feature.
Nokia has really been pushing NFC technology lately, with all new Symbian devices getting an NFC chip and Android is moving in the same direction. The Galaxy Nexus supports content sharing over NFC with a new Android Beam app. Google also provides associated API’s so developers can use this feature as well. NFC is also being pushed by Google in their latest creation Google Wallet, a feature that is sure to come to this new device as well.