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Google gave its customers two launches in one when it unveiled its highly anticipated Ice Cream sandwich operating system, along with an all new smartphone, the Galaxy Nexus, which it says “takes the smartphone to beyond smart”.
The phone, developed in conjunction with South Korean technology giant Samsung, is also the first designed to run Android 4.0.
“Beaming a video with a single tap or unlocking a device with only a smile sounds like science fiction. Now, you can actually do these things (and more) with a phone that fits in the palm of your hand”, said Andy Rubin, Google’s Senior Vice President, Mobile.
The Galaxy Nexus features a 4.65″ “Contour Display” with 720p resolution and a 1.2ghz processor combined with 4G LTE or HSPA+ technology. Google claims that the camera on the Google Nexus has zero shutter lag, automatic focus, top-notch low-light performance and a simple way to capture panoramic pictures.
The phone is also the first to feature Android Beam which, according to Google, “uses near field communication (NFC) to instantly share webpages, YouTube videos, maps, directions and apps by simply tapping two phones together”.
It will also feature Face Unlock, which “uses state-of-the-art facial recognition technology to unlock your phone with nothing more than a smile”.
Although Google chose to unveil Ice Cream Sandwich on the Galaxy Nexus, the OS is specifically designed to run on both tablets and smartphones.
According to Rubin, Google’s mission with Ice Cream Sandwich was to “make the power of Android enticing and intuitive”.
To this end, the internet giant has a created a new font which it says is optimised for HD displays and eliminated all hardware buttons in favor of adaptable software buttons. Tweaks have also been made to the on-screen keyboard, notifications have reportedly been made more interactive and widgets resizable.
According to Rubin:
The desktop-class browser is significantly faster, featuring a refined tab manager and the ability to sync your bookmarks with Google Chrome. Ice Cream Sandwich also features the best mobile Gmail experience to date, with a new design that lets you quickly swipe through your inbox and search messages even when you’re offline. Calendar boasts a clean new look and you can zoom into your schedule with a pinch.
The first ever Android phone, the G1, was released three years ago. Today, Google claims, more than 550 000 Android devices are activated daily.
The Galaxy Nexus will be available in the US, Canada, Europe and Asia from November.
Google released a Tron-style video to celebrate the launch: