Hong Kong - The first smartphone using the new Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) OS will roll out globally beginning this November in 4G HSPA+ and LTE versions, with at least one of the versions becoming available in the U.S. next month.
phone is the Galaxy Nexus, designed jointly by Google and Samsung to provide
what the companies called a "pure Google experience." The phone operates in
HSPA+ mode in the 850/900/1900/1700/2100MHz bands, so AT&T or
T-Mobile could offer it in the U.S. Bands for an LTE version weren't announced.
The companies did not specify which U.S. carriers would offer the device.
The phone features a large 4.65-inch HD Super AMOLED 720p display paired with a narrow 4.29mm bezel to keeps the phone's overall size despite the large screen. The display itself delivers a contrast ratio of 100,000:1 and a color spectrum exceeding that of most TVs, said Samsung senior VP Kevin Packingham here at a press conference last night. The display is also said to prevent motion blur when playing back video.
Other key features include 1.2GHz dual core processor, curved back, 8.94mm depth, 1080p 30 fps video capture, Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n with n at 2.4/5GHz, near-field communications (NFC) and Wi-Fi hot spot.
With the new Ice Cream Sandwich OS, the phone also sports multiple enhancements over previous generations of Android OSs, including facial recognition to unlock the device and such camera enhancements as zero shutter lag and ability to take panoramic pictures by moving the camera from left to right.
A redesigned user interface uses gestures rather than button presses for navigation. It also eliminates front-panel hard buttons.
The new OS also delivers such camera-related features as face detection, onboard photo-editing tools, automatic backup of photos in the Cloud, ability to take time-lapse videos, ability to take high-resolution photos while taking a video and zooming while recording.
Ice Cream also connects the device to the Cloud to keep email, contacts, and other data synced across devices. In the U.S., users can also upload their music to the Cloud with Music Beta by Google and listen anywhere, even when offline.
Another new OS feature is Android Beam, which uses NFC to share data, such as maps and videos, with another NFC-equipped Galaxy Nexus by holding the backs of the phones together.
The Ice Cream's new People app was described as an evolution of a contact list, letting users view not just the phone numbers and email addresses of a contact but also their pictures and social-network status updates.
A new settings control lets users manage data usage. The feature projects future data usage based on past history, lets users set warnings when data-use thresholds are reached, and lets users automatically cut off all data use when a threshold is hit.
Multiple Gmail improvements include offline search of the past 30 days of email even when not connected to the Internet, ability to select messages that can be deleted in a group, and an in-box with a two-line preview.
In other changes, Ice Cream enables:
-- access to email notifications and other notifications from the lock screen for the first time -- the notifications area at the top of the screen now delivers access to a music-pause button for use when a consumer opens another app;
-- a bottom-screen favorites tray that users can customize by choosing apps and folders to add;
--a "talk-to-text" function that has been accelerated so that voice-entry of text messages is now "instant," one Google executive said;
--simpler cut, copy and paste functions that have also been made consistent among apps; and
--the saving of web pages for off-line reading.