So, the first Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich phone has just been announced, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Tasty.
Let’s start with the specifications: the Galaxy Nexus packs a dual-core 1.2 GHx Texus Instruments OMAP4460 processor. A mouthful indeed, but it basically means it’s as fast as the Galaxy S2. It comes equipped with 1GB of system memory, double the amount you’ll find in an iPhone 4S. The phone shoots 1080p video and has a five-mega-pixel rear camera with an LED flash, but shutter lag’s now a thing of the past. Your picture just saves instantly, enabling you to carry on snapping.
What of its display? Effortlessly chic. The buttonless screen creates an edge-to-edge tablet, which you’ll easily get used to it once it’s nestled in the palm of your hand. It’s a whopping 4.65 inch Super AMOLED, boasting 720p resolution: not quite large enough to put you off carrying it around in your shirt pocket. At just 8.84mm thick, it has a beautifully contoured feel.
Now for the main attraction: Ice Cream Sandwich, or Android 4.0. Not to worry, it’ll be coming to other high-end Android handsets soon, but for now let’s start with a taste test. Head of Nexus user experience, Matias Duarte, has described it as the handset’s soul. OK, so you’re probably thinking ‘This is weird.’ But Duarte began by looking at other companies in a bid to create the perfect companion. Apple’s iOS uses cartoonish realism: there are leather edges on the calendar, while book stores look like childish imitations. Windows Phone 7, on the other hand, is stark – for Duarte, it’s something like ‘airport lavatory signage.’
So what is the Galaxy Nexus’ interface actually like?
Well, it’s futuristic. It has something of Apple, and a little of Microsoft. It’s friendly, but not cartoonish; it’s modern, but doesn’t feel cold. It’s a big step for Google to follow in the aesthetic trail of others, whilst maintaining its focus on data over design. The result is something brilliant though, as near to a phone with soul as possible.
Face recognition will unlock the phone’s screen; you simply smile to make it turn on. The phone will respond to whatever you ask it to do by recognising the tone of your voice. It will transport music, pictures and videos back and forth, just by holding it against one of its friends. Friends? OK, that should read other Galaxy Nexuses.
In all seriousness though, the design is stunning and the spec impressive. With the Android 4.0 operating system to boot, the Galaxy Nexus is on the money.
Speaking of price, it’s probably worth mentioning, at this juncture, how much the Nexus will cost. Some retailers have quoted a Galaxy Nexus contract price of £46 a month if you want to get your hands on the handset for free. The good news is that aficionados need only wait till November for this treat to make it into their stocking – better hope your name’s not on the ‘naughty’ list.