Android Ice Cream Sandwich debuts, but not in U.S.

Android operating system Ice Cream Sandwich arrived in the United Kingdom with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus going on sale there Nov. 17. Verizon says the Android system will arrive in the US before the end of the year.

By , VentureBeat

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    J.K. Shin (right), president and head of mobile communications business from Samsung, and Andy Rubin, senior vice president of Google Mobile, unveil the Galaxy Nexus, the first smartphone to feature Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and a HD Super AMOLED display, during a news conference in Hong Kong in October. The smartphone debuted in the United Kingdom on Thursday.
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The highly anticipated Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the first phone running Android Ice Cream Sandwich, went on sale today in the U.K., but U.S. consumers are still out in the cold.

Verizon Wireless announced back in October that the Galaxy Nexus would launch before the end of the year in the U.S., and the Android faithful are tired of waiting. We almost certainly believe a U.S. launch is imminent because Verizon and Samsung will want to capitalize on holiday sales. Verizon did not immediately respond with a request for comment about the launch date.

The phone is notable because it’s the first smartphone to run Android 4.0, and for its massive 4.65-inch screen with 1280-by-720 resolution that is capable of 720p HD video playback. The Verizon Wireless version of the phone will also offer Verizon’s blazing 4G LTE data speeds, which only sweeten the already tasty deal.

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As far as specs, the Galaxy Nexus is top of the line for Android in almost all categories. It includes a 1.2-GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, a 5-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video capture and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera. It has NFC abilities for mobile payments, a proximity sensor and a barometer. The Ice Cream Sandwich software running on the Galaxy Nexus ups the power of Android with a revamped interface, features like facial recognition, and touch-only buttons in place of normal physical buttons under the screen.

On Verizon, the Galaxy Nexus will compete with the Motorola Droid Razr, another great Android phone, and the incredibly popular iPhone 4S. But those wanting top of the line power, 4G data speeds and the latest greatest Android experience, will most likely gravitate to the Galaxy Nexus.

In the U.K., the phone is available exclusively from retailer Phones 4U, which is selling the handset for free with a £36 ($57) per month plan that goes with two-year agreement. The phone will run on the Vodafone and Orange carriers.

Google has also released a hip new commercial touting the Galaxy Nexus and some of Ice Cream Sandwich’s new features. Check it out below:

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