Samsung, Google Launch Newest Android Phone


By Kevin C. Tofel, GigaOM

Samsungintroduced the newest flagship Google ( GOOG) Android phone, the GalaxyNexus, at a Hong Kong press event on Wednesday morning. Thesmartphone, long rumored as the Nexus Prime, will be the firsthandset to run the next version of Android: Ice Cream Sandwich.

J.K. Shin, Samsung’s head of mobile communications,explained the cutting-edge nature of the Galaxy Nexus with its“Super AMOLED screen, curved design and LTE support; incertain markets, the Nexus will be available with HSPA+. It’sa premium user experience combined with Samsung’s best inclass hardware.” a

Samsung says it focused on four aspects with the Galaxy Nexus: speed,screen, design and OS. Speed refers to the LTE support for fastmobile broadband and the 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, which thecompany says is perfect for online video consumption. The large4.65-inch Super AMOLED screen with 1280720 resolution offers a100,000:1 contrast ratio and uses the standard 16:9 aspect ratioused for high-definition video.

The same contour display from the Nexus S carries over to thenew phone and is only 8.49mm thick with a small bezel of 4.29mm, sothe larger screen doesn’t make the phone too wide. The backuses Hyperskin, a textured design for improved feel.

Remainingspecifications correspond to those leaked a few weeks ago,meaning the Galaxy Nexus uses a 5 megapixel rear camera for stillsand 1080p video capture. While I can’t comment on imagequality, camera demonstrations showed the phone to be fast (zeroshutter lag) with numerous software features: auto-focus, facedetection, a panoramic mode and new editing tools.

A new barometer sensor is available for developers to use, asis an integrated NFC chip for mobile payments and sharinginformation with other phones via a bump and tap. This feature,called Android Beam, is one of many new functions in Ice CreamSandwich; stay tuned for our overview of what’s changed inGoogle’s mobile platform.

Samsung says the Galaxy Nexusawill launch in November, first inthe U.S., Europe and Asia, then in other markets.

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