At an event in Hong Kong on Wednesday morning, Samsung debuted its newest super-phone, dubbed Galaxy Nexus, the first device to feature Google’s new Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich mobile operating system.
Taking the size factor up a notch, the Galaxy Nexus sports a 4.65-inch Super AMOLED display. The large screen is the first high-definition screen on a smartphone, with a resolution of 1280×720. (The Galaxy Nexus’ pixel density of 316ppi is still slightly less than the 326ppi of the 3.5-inch Retina display of Apple’s iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S devices.) To make the handset feel less gargantuan, Samsung designed the Galaxy Nexus with a curved form that the company says makes the device feel more natural in the hand.
Powering the Galaxy Nexus is a 1.2GHz dual-core TI OMAP4 processor and 1GB of RAM. The device features a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 1.3-megapixel front camera. Samsung will release two different models, one with HSPA+ connectivity and another with LTE connectivity, depending on region and carriers. Other connection capabilities include Wi-Fi (dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n) and Bluetooth 3.0. The Galaxy Nexus will also have NFC mobile wallet technology built in.
While the hardware specs of the Galaxy Nexus are enough to place it as a top-tier device, the real upgrade for users is the inclusion of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, which comes loaded with a massive new set of features. For example, unlocking the Galaxy Nexus is done through face recognition with the phone’s front-facing camera.
Navigation of the device is aided by the Back, Home and Recent Apps menu options, which are taken straight from Android 3.0 Honeycomb, and sit at the bottom of the screen – the standard physical buttons included on most Android handsets are gone. Select Recent Apps, and you’ll be taken to a scrollable list of the apps you most recently opened. Each app is shown by a screengrab of the last activity performed in the app. Swiping the app will remove it from the list, and shut down certain background processes.
Other updates included in Ice Cream Sandwich are a redesigned Gmail client, which includes easier functionality on a smartphone-sized device; a new People application, which shows images of your Google+ contacts; and improved speed with the camera app.
We’ll have a more in-depth look at Ice Cream Sandwich soon, so check back with DT for the lowdown on the newest version of Android.