The Samsung Galaxy Nexus goes on sale

Samsung and Google’s new flagship device has gone on sale. The Galaxy Nexus is the first device to feature the 4.0 version of the operating system, code-named Ice Cream Sandwich.

The first phones went on sale in London’s Phones4U on Oxford Street. One employee said over 130 handsets had been sold in the first few hours. The phone is available on Vodafone, T-Mobile, Orange and O2 contracts with devices expecting to be shipped in the coming days.

The Galaxy Nexus comes at the end of a hugely successful year for Samsung. The Galaxy SII wowed smartphone users and pushed the popularity of Android devices in the UK market: They already have the edge over Apple devices in the US. The Nexus boasts many of the same features of the SII. It carries a 4.65” HD Super AMOLED screen with 720p resolution. A dual core 1.2 GHz processor, 5 megapixel camera on the back with an LED Flash, zero shutter lag and the ability to record HD video and 1.3 megapixel on the front make it one of the most powerful Android devices on the market. It comes after a series of Google models, the HTC Nexus One and then Samsung’s Nexus S. Running in what users describe as a “pure” Android experience, the Nexus range has become the best way to introduce new Android features.

Android 4.0 is hotly anticipated by Android users. For the first time, Ice Cream Sandwich unifies one operating system across both smartphone and tablet devices, suggesting the potential for more integrations. Face recognition for unlocking the device, Near-Field Communications as well as improved camera controls, multi-tasking, services to track data use and anew contacts system are available first on the Galaxy Nexus before being rolled out as updates to selected handsets.

The only criticism over the availability of the Galaxy Nexus has come from the US where the launch of the device stateside has not been given a firm date yet. Google says the device should be available “pretty much everywhere” from 21st November.

There had been rumours that even the UK launch of the new device could be delayed. Rumours had circulated that the Nexus would instead be out next week, but a tweet from the Google Nexus twitter account said that, as planned, the device would be available from Phones4U at 8am. An exclusive launch event marked the device going on sale, with the first 100 customers receiving a £250 voucher to spend on music and apps.

As Galaxy Nexus contracts are shipped out to buyers there will be more reviews and responses online to the effectiveness of Android 4.0. Launching as it does in the UK just six weeks before Christmas, and with pencilled in plans in the US for it to launch just before Thanksgiving, the nexus could have some ground to make up if it is to catch up with the iPhone 4S, which has over a month on it in terms of a global launch. Yet for Android users it will be the first chance to see what their operating system might have in store in the coming months.

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