Galaxy Nexus Smartphone coming to Bell and Virgin Mobile in December

Last month Google and Samsung announced the Galaxy Nexus smartphone, the first Android smartphone to come with Ice Cream sandwich natively installed.

Today in a downtown meeting with representatives from Samsung, I had the chance to see the new smartphone in action and learn more about its launch in Canada.

While I was being briefed on the many new features of the Android 4.0 device, Ken Price, Director of Marketing for Samsung’s Mobile Division informed me the unlocked device would go on sale early in December at an undisclosed price and would be available exclusively through Bell Mobility and Virgin Mobile until the end of the year.

Despite asking several times, Mr. Price would not give up a release date or a price but did say that it should be available in Canada within a few days of when it’s released in the United States. Mr. Price also refused to say when other carriers might be selling the device, however, since its comes unlocked, you will be able to use it with all Canadian wireless providers.

After discussing pricing and availability, a representative from Samsung demonstrated the new device to me.

Physically the Galaxy Nexus is considerably larger than most smartphones. I placed my Apple 3GS beside the device and estimated the Galaxy Nexus, which weighs 135 grams, to have a surface area about 30% larger without being any thicker. It has a sleek curve design that is intended to cradle the face. Despite the large size, the device is under 9mm thick at end you place to your ear and just 6.7mm thick at the other end. Hardware features include a 1.2 gigahertz dual-core processor, a 4.65-inch Super AMOLED HD screen with 1280×720 pixels of resolution, 1GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage, a 5-megapixel camera and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera.

As noted earlier the Galaxy Nexus is powered by Ice cream sandwich or ICS. ICS is the code name for the fourth major version of the Android mobile Operating system which Google says combines the best of the Android 2.x phone interface with the Android 3.x Honeycomb tablet interface.

Some of the impressive new features in ICS which Samsung demonstrated for me included: Face Unlock, Android Beam for NFC and data management features.

Face Unlock – a new screen-lock option that lets users unlock their devices with their faces. It takes advantage of the device front-facing camera and state-of-the-art facial recognition technology to register a face during setup and then to recognize it again when unlocking the device. Users just hold their devices in front of their faces to unlock, or use a backup PIN or pattern.

Android Beam lets users exchange favorite apps, contacts, music, videos and other information across two NFC-enabled Androids phone by touching the two devices together and then tapping the screen to send.

Data Management provides users with a screen where they can see a list of all their applications and then set limits to how much memory each app can use.

Discuss Android 4.0 and the Samsung Nexus in Digital Home’s Smartphone and Tablet Computing forum.

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