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Galaxy Nexus boasts Android 4.0, 1280 x 720 resolution

Oct 19, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

Samsung announced the first device equipped with Android 4.0 (“Ice Cream Sandwich”). The “Galaxy Nexus” offers a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, a 4.65-inch display with an impressive resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels, an NFC (near field communication) chip, and compatibility with 4G LTE and HSPA+ networks.

Samsung and Google unveiled the Galaxy Nexus at an event in Hong Kong Oct. 19. Previously tipped as the Nexus Prime, the phone will be available in the U.S., Europe, and Asia in November at an undisclosed price.

Following the lead of the Nexus S, which debuted last December as the showcase phone for Android 2.3, as well as Sprint's Nexus S 4G model, the Galaxy Nexus offers a "pure-Google" version of Android 4.0 without any carrier-specific additions or UI layers.

Samsung's Galaxy Nexus
(Click to enlarge)

For at least a few months, it would seem, the Galaxy Nexus will be the only way to explore the new Android 4.0 ("Ice Cream Sandwich") build, which supports both smartphones and tablets. Android 4.0 sports a revamped user interface, a faster browser, an improved camera interface, plus facial recognition and text-to-speech features. (For more details, see our separate Android 4.0 coverage.)

The Galaxy Nexus name somewhat blurs the delineation between the techie-focused Nexus family of phones and the consumer-focused, TouchWiz-enabled Galaxy S II phones. The Galaxy S II is a tough act to follow, but the Nexus seems up to the task.

Like the Galaxy S II, the Galaxy Nexus offers a 1.2GHz dual-core processor. It's unclear, however, whether this is the same dual-core 1.2GHz Samsung Exynos processor as on the S II. The Galaxy Nexus is further equipped with 1GB of RAM, and either 16GB or 32GB of internal flash storage. A microSD slot is presumably also included, but wasn't mentioned.

The Galaxy Nexus (pictured at right) outshines the S II with its display. Although it offers only the earlier Super AMOLED display technology instead of the latter's Super AMOLED Plus, the Galaxy Nexus features an extra-large 4.65-inch screen. More importantly, it offers a Honeycomb tablet-like 1280 x 720 resolution - a huge jump from the S II's 800 x 480 pixels.

As far as we know, the only other smartphones with such high resolution include LG's 4.5-inch, Korea-bound Optimus LTE Android smartphone (1280 x 720 pixels), and the upcoming, 5.3-inch Samsung Note (1280 x 800). This begs the question of how Android 4.0 will perform on phones with lower resolutions. (The operating system update has been promised for the 4.3-inch, 960 x 540 Razr Motorola announced Oct. 18, according to a Tech Radar report.)

The Galaxy Nexus is even thinner than the Galaxy S II, measuring 0.35 inches (8.94mm) instead of 0.38 inches (8.89mm), but it can't beat the new Razr, which is an industry-leading 0.28 inches thick. The Galaxy Nexus is also touted by Samsung for offering "a minimal 4.29mm bezel."

The Nexus is just a tad heavier than the Razr, weighing in at 4.76 oz (135 g), according to Samsung. The rounded device features a "Hyper-skin" enclosure on the battery cover to reduce slippage.

A true techie's delight, the Galaxy Nexus offers a full slate of wireless features and sensors (see spec list below). The device supports HSPA+ at 21Mbps, and some models will feature LTE 4G service as well, says Samsung. In addition to offering Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, and GPS (like its older Nexus siblings), the phone ships with an NFC (near field communication) chip.

Presumably the phone will be supported by Google's NFC-based Google Wallet mobile payment service, which currently supports the Nexus S 4G, although Samsung makes no mention of it. The phone will, however, be able to make use of a cool new "Android Beam" feature in Android 4.0 that enables users to swap text and videos over NFC at short range in a peer-to-peer session.

Camera adds cool feature, but stays at five megapixels

The Galaxy Nexus camera has been "redesigned," presumably from the Nexus S 4G, but unfortunately that upgrade did not include an advance in megapixels. It's still at just five megapixels, which is especially disappointing considering all the new camera features included in Android 4.0. The lack of an eight-megapixel camera is the only major omission in the feature list, assuming that an HDMI port and microSD slot are present (neither was confirmed).

On the other hand, the camera offers 1080p video capture at 30 frames per second (fps), and provides Android 4.0 features like "zero-shutter lag," panorama mode, and effects imaging effects. As before, a 1.3-megapixel camera faces front for video chats.

In addition to providing Android 4.0, the phone offers the full slate of Google Mobile services, including Android Market, Google Maps 5.0 with 3D maps and turn-by-turn navigation. Also included are Google Earth, Movie Studio, and YouTube. Apps that have received notable updates in ICS include Gmail, Google Calendar, and a Google+ social networking app that now comes standard with Ice Cream Sandwich.

In the U.S., users can enjoy cloud services, including uploading music to the cloud with Music Beta by Google, says Samsung. Music Beta lets users "listen anywhere, even when offline," says the company.

Features and specifications listed for the Galaxy Nexus include:

  • Processor — 1.2 GHz dual core
  • Memory — 1GB RAM; 16GB/32GB internal memory
  • Display — 4.65-inch, 1280 x 720 Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen
  • Wireless:
    • HSPA+ 21Mbps/HSUPA 5.76Mbps
    • 850/900/1900/1700/2100
    • EDGE/GPRS 850/900/1800/1900
    • LTE version availability depends on region.
    • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
    • Bluetooth 3.0
    • NFC
    • GPS
  • Cameras:
    • 5-megapixel autofocus rear-facing camera with LED Flash, "zero shutter lag and fast shot2shot"
    • 1.3-megapixel front-facing cam
    • 1080p HD recording @ 30fps (MPEG4/H.263/H.264)
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 2.0 port
    • 3.5mm audio jack
  • Sensors — accelerometer, compass, gyro, light, proximity, barometer
  • Dimensions — 5.33 x 2.67 x 0.35 inches (135.5 x 67.94 x 8.94mm)
  • Weight — 4.76 oz (135 g)
  • Battery — Li-on 1750mAh

A promotional video introducing the Galaxy Nexus
(click to play)


The Galaxy Nexus will be available in the U.S., Europe, and Asia in November at an undisclosed price, and will gradually roll out to other markets, says Samsung. More information, including notification sign-up may be found on Google's Galaxy Nexus and ICS overview page.

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