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Here's everything you need to know about Samsung's latest smartphone

Verizon Wireless may be the most expensive carrier when it comes to traditional smartphone data rates, but its double data holiday promotion has transformed it briefly into one of the cheaper carriers.  Add in its industry-leading customer satisfaction and you have what seems to be a winning combination.

I. The Galaxy Nexus is Upon Us

Today the carrier is at last, after much anticipation, launching the Galaxy Nexus from Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KS:005930). Priced at $299 with a new two-year contract, the phones are expected to be a hot seller.

Here's what you need to know about the phone's hardware specs:

Galaxy Nexus
  • 1.2GHz OMAP 4460 ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core processor from Texas Instruments, Inc. (TI)
  • 4.65" 720x1280 HD Super AMOLED (only 2 subpixels)
  • 1GB RAM
  • 16GB of memory (optional 32GB)
  • 5MP rear camera with LED flash plus a 1.3MP front facing camera
  • 1080p (30fps) video recording
  • LTE
  • NFC hardware
  • 1850 mAh replaceable battery
Here's some of the improvements you'll get with Android 4.0 ICS:

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Drastically refined GUI
  • New camera app with improved image stabilization, facial recognition, and one-motion panerama shots
  • Improved default Webkit browser.
  • Better auto-correct
  • Upgraded contacts app
  • Fancy graphical data manager app for dealing with life on capped connections.
  • Quick access to text message response to incoming calls
  • Swipe-dismissal of notifications
  • Facial recognition unlock
  • Universal voice typing
  • Wi-Fi Direct (allows faster, easier connections)
  • Google Beam/Near-Field Communications (NFC)
(A full list can be found here.)

Many bemoaned that the Verizon opted not to pick up Samsung's sleek flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S II.  Well fear not, the Galaxy Nexus is more or less the Galaxy S II with a slightly different feature set.  It has a lower resolution camera and lacks the microSD expansion found in most Galaxy S IIs.  But on the other hand, you get a slee, gently curved packaging that screams distinctive.

If you can get past the Prime's strong battery life, (temporarily) exclusive Android 4.0 support, and sleek packaging, there's a couple of other phones you should consider.  Take a peek at the world's thinnest Android -- the Motorola Droid RAZR.  It features a lower resolution display, but the world's best form factor and weight.  Also check out the Rezound from HTC Corp. (TPE:2498).  It features improved audio hardware/software, a faster (albeit older) CPU, and a better 720x1280 display that has the proper 3 subpixels, as opposed to Samsung's slightly gimped 2 subpixel version.  It's all about the tradeoffs -- your personal priorities, what's in stock in your region, and which phone's design calls to you the most.

Yes, for now ICS gives the Nexus a key edge over the competitors as the OS dictates smartphone usability, and the Nexus could enjoy near-exclusive access to ICS for a month or two.  That said, within three or four months expect most flagship models to have jumped to ICS or be preparing to.  So one of the phone's biggest selling points will soon be a pedestrian feature.

II. Verizon Bumps LTE Coverage to 200 Million Americans

In related news Verizon has now expanded [press release] its nationwide LTE network to include multiple new regions.  It writes:

On Thursday, Dec. 15, the company will turn on its 4G LTE network in Dover, Del.; Lafayette, Ind.; Fitchburg/Leominster, Mass.; Duluth, The Rochester Area and St. Cloud, Minn.; Manchester/Nashua, N.H.; Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; Findlay/Tiffin and Youngstown/Warren, Ohio; and Indiana, Pa. The company is also making expansions on Dec. 15 in San Diego and San Francisco; Washington, D.C.; Savannah, Ga.; Chicagoland, Ill.; and Baltimore and Hagerstown, Md.

Verizon is winning the coverage battle with AT&T, Inc. (T), the other current U.S. proprietor of LTE 4G coverage.  AT&T, who got a late start, offers faster service in most of its regions, but will  cover only about a third of the number of Americans that Verizon does by the end of the year.

AT&T hopes to cover 70 million Americans, Verizon already now covers 200 million Americans.  Which service is better depends on where you live, but for the majority of buyers Verizon is the best carrier to experience next-generation 4G on.


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First?
By joedon3 on 12/15/2011 11:48:57 AM , Rating: 2
Lol, I've been running ICS on my Captivate for about a month now... Gotta love Open-Source!




RE: First?
By JasonMick (blog) on 12/15/2011 12:01:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Lol, I've been running ICS on my Captivate for about a month now... Gotta love Open-Source!

True... first official. But I'd imagine the Galaxy Prime's firmware/vendor software has been reoptimized for ICS, so might be a tiny bit different.

But true, jailbreakers can have their cake and eat it to.


RE: First?
By TheRequiem on 12/15/11, Rating: 0
RE: First?
By Black1969ta on 12/15/2011 12:30:32 PM , Rating: 1
That may be the best compliment anyone has given Verizon since the original iPhone came out on AT&T.

Verizon finally has a Sheeple phone!!!!! they should be so proud!


RE: First?
By SublimeSimplicity on 12/15/2011 2:36:01 PM , Rating: 5
Got mine. If wanting an android phone that's carrier app free, has an unlocked bootloader, and lacks unremovable vendor UIs (looking at you Sense) makes me a sheeple... well I say, "Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah"


RE: First?
By Black1969ta on 12/20/2011 5:51:30 AM , Rating: 2
That is what I meant! This is a good thing, I hate that it take months for an update to be released to phones after Google releases it.


RE: First?
By InfinityzeN on 12/15/2011 12:39:56 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget the lack of a Micro SD slot.


RE: First?
By Spuke on 12/15/2011 12:58:45 PM , Rating: 2
I have a HTC Incredible and will be upgrading to this phone very soon. I don't even have my 16GB uSD card filled up so 32GB will be more than enough for me. Go buy something else if you don't like it. Me and the rest of the people that are buying or will buy this phone, we will be very happy customers.


RE: First?
By SublimeSimplicity on 12/15/2011 2:38:43 PM , Rating: 3
Exactly, most new smartphones today offer 16GB internal + 16GB via SD. Unless you're constantly rotating through SDs, what's the complaint with it all being internal?


RE: First?
By kleinma on 12/15/2011 12:45:48 PM , Rating: 3
Someone is mad that their iPhone 4s isn't what people are drooling over anymore???

First of all, many, many people who have existing smart phones are on unlimited data plans with Verizon. When they upgrade to this phone, they will keep their unlimited data plan. In addition to that, 2GB is actually plenty for the majority of people, especially if they use wifi when available. Whatever Verizon apps are on the phone can be removed since that is a feature of ICS now. There is no google wallet, so if you are going to strip the phone of it being a "google phone" because 1 program is missing then I guess you can have that opinion. For just about everyone else who ends up with this phone, they will likely love it.

I have a 4s and a droidx right now, so I don't really have a NEED to upgrade. I am sure it is a very nice fast phone though.


RE: First?
By darkhawk1980 on 12/16/2011 8:11:00 AM , Rating: 1
Funny, I have a Galaxy Nexus from Verizon and I have unlimited data...dunno what you're talking about limited data.

Also, I can use Google Wallet just fine. Haven't really read up on it yet much, have you? Just went with what all the sheeple said, eh?


"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation














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