The hotly-anticipated Samsung Galaxy Nexus was initially slated for a Oct 11 launch, but it was pushed back, out of respect, in the wake of Steve Jobs’ passing. So Android fans had to wait a few more weeks for the announcement of Samsung’s latest smartphone, as well as the debut of the Android 4.0 OS that would be running on it.
Of course, with the Internet being what it is, detailed specs for the new smartphone were already making the rounds hours before the launch was to begin. The announcement, then, confirmed what many people had already figured out.
Here’s a run down of the basics:
- First phone to run Android 4.0, the refreshing-sounding Ice Cream Sandwich, with a whole host of interface improvements
- Retains the curved back and contoured display of the Galaxy S and is just 8.94mm thick
- Big 4.65-inch Super AMOLED screen
- Blazing 1.2GHz dual-core processor with up to 100Mbps connectivity on LTE and HSPA+ versions
- 5-megapixel CMOS rear camera with HD video capability
- Beam me up: NFC with Android Beam that allows instant transfer of information by touching the phones together
The Ice Cream Sandwich OS also comes with a number of notable improvements, including a redesigned home screen with resizable widgets, app folders, better Gmail integration, and faster and better web browsing.
One standout feature of the Ice Cream Sandwich OS is Android Beam, which utilizes near-field communication to send information between two phones – you can send maps, pictures, websites to a friend’s Android phone by just touching them together. The demo even included a section where one phone with Minecraft running tapped another, sending the recipient right to the app store to download Minecraft. Now your friends have no excuses not to get into the same time-sucking games as you.
Another feature that generated some buzz was Face Unlock – the Nexus (which also has a front-facing 1.3MP camera) recognises your face, so instead of swiping or entering a security number, you can unlock your phone just by looking at it. Sadly, though, the demonstration at the launch was unsuccessful – we’ll just have to assume it works, for now.
What really impressed me, as a photography and videography nerd, was the improved camera app. Zero shutter lag, face recognition, direct sharing to several social media platforms including Twitter and flickr were just some of the features shared. Plus an in-app editing suite which allows you to take your pictures and then crop, rotate, remove red-eye, toss on “hipster” filters (their words, not mine!)…
It also has a panorama shooting mode which guides you as you slowly sweep your phone across the scene and then stitches the result into one long photo. And the video recording function has a time-lapse mode, which looked beautiful in the demonstration (the fact that they were shooting sunsets didn’t hurt). The panorama mode and time-lapse function are actually top on my “things I wish iOS had” list, on top of everything else.
The Galaxy Nexus is slated to roll out in November, hitting markets in the US, Europe and Asia (including China and Japan). No word yet on when exactly it will arrive in Singapore, but Android fans here shouldn’t have long to wait.