Samsung Galaxy Nexus unveiled, first to run Ice Cream Sandwich

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Samsung and Google have unveiled the Galaxy Nexus smartphone at a press event in Hong Kong. The flagship handset is the first in the world to run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Google’s new mobile operating system that unifies Gingerbread and Honeycomb into one.

The Galaxy Nexus features a curved 4.65-inch HD Super AMOLED display running at 1270 x 720 resolution, a 1.2GHz dual core processor, 1GB of RAM, your choice of 16GB or 32GB of internal storage, a 5MP rear camera with zero shutter lag, backlit-illuminated sensor, built-in stabilization and LED flash and a 1.3MP front-facing camera for video chat. The unit is powered by a 1,750mAh battery in a package that weighs 135g and is 8.9mm at its thinnest point.

In addition to the curved screen, the physical buttons found on most Android handsets are gone, replaced by what Google calls Software Navigation Buttons. The phone also includes Bluetooth 3.0, USB 2.0, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n (2.4GHz and 5GHz) and NFC. Wireless connectivity options include LTE and HSPA+.

Ice Cream Sandwich introduces a whole new look and feel for Android. The company has borrowed trends from TV, web and print design for use in ICS.; they wanted it to feel modern and approachable.

For starters, ICS is specifically designed to work with 720p as its native resolution. ICS has improved multitasking, a sideways-swiping function that works in multiple applications, Wi-Fi hotspot and NFC support, new notifications and a full web browsing experience. An updated camera interface includes support for panorama mode, 1080p video capture, in-app filters and a new gallery layout. A new People app connects your various social network streams into one. There’s also a new unlock method for your device using facial recognition.

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus will launch in early November in the US, Europe and Asia. The Ice Cream Sandwich SDK is available now.

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