After the relative success of the Nexus One and Nexus S (especially among developers and people who wanted a phone that wasn’t limited software wise by any corporate policies), Google of course decided to continue releasing smartphones under the new brand, even going as far as announcing that the name for the next phone will be simply Nexus.
Well, the official information flow stopped after that, and the only thing that remained were the rumors people started spreading around like fire, a lot of which sounded too good to be true. After Google acquired Motorola Mobility, people also started speculating that the phone would be produced by Motorola instead of Samsung, which sounded reasonable at the time.
Many of those rumors did not come to be, but a lot of them actually were true, and the phone was finally announced, demoed and is going to be released this month under the Galaxy Nexus moniker. It’s a bit weird that Samsung also got to use their Galaxy brand in Google’s product, but that would actually help the sales, since more people trust Samsung than Google with their hardware.
Anyway, the Google Nexus is a pretty well made device, and it’s definitely worth of the flagship title, especially since it will ship with Ice Cream Sandwich pre-installed. On the outside, it looks a lot like the Nexus S, with the same overall design, curved glass and lip on the bottom of the back cover. The glass over the display has been confirmed NOT to be Gorilla Glass, instead being just “fortified glass” – whether that’s better or worse we have yet to see.
The display itself is a very nice 4.65 inch Super AMOLED unit with a staggering 1280×720 pixels resolution, which looks simply awesome and fits any Web pages without you having to zoom in – it’s pretty cool seeing it live. A lot of people seem to forget the resolution and instead focus on the fact that it’s not Super AMOLED Plus – seriously, it’s like the award winning Galaxy S display never existed, even though the quality is pretty much the same.
You’ll also notice that there are no navigation buttons below the screen – that’s because Ice Cream Sandwich doesn’t need them – they’re virtualized in a strip at the bottom of the display, and can change into other buttons depending on what app is running. The removal of these touch buttons leaves more space for the display and also remove any possibility of accidentally touching them when you’re using the phone.
The other hardware specs of the Galaxy Nexus are on a pretty high level, with the performance being provided by a 1.2 GHz dual core TI OMAP 4460 – not the best in class, but still one of the fastest platforms available. There’s also a full gigabyte of RAM, which is unsurprising, and the Nexus will come in two models with 16 or 32 GB storage space, and with no micro SD card slot, I think it’s safe to say that the 32 GB version will sell the most.
Aside from the usual Wifi and Bluetooth adapters, GPS and accelerometer/proximity sensors, the Galaxy Nexus has an NFC transceiver and a built-in barometer – not something you see every day on current smartphones. The camera is a bit disappointing on paper, being only 5 megapixels in size, but in reality its quality is easily comparable to that of the best 8 megapixels cameras out there, including that of the iPhone 4S – it’s not the number that counts, after all.
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich brings about the biggest changes, and it’s no wonder that Google is marketing the OS more than the phone. There are dozens of noticeable upgrades and improvements, from Face Unlock and Android Beam to on device encryption (finally, business users can drop their Blackberries) and the all new Google apps (including the browser).
The Galaxy Nexus brings a lot of improvements to the table, and with Android 4.0 in tow, it will be one of the best smartphones on the market when it comes out this November – it’s definitely worth waiting for it if you’re planning on getting a new handset.