The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is finally available in the U.S. from Verizon Wireless.
The carrier started taking orders for the smartphone, the first device in the states with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, at 1am Eastern this morning on verizonwireless.com, and it will also be in Verizon stores today for $299.99 with a two-year contract.
As part of a promotion announced last month, new and old customers who buy a 4G smartphone will receive double the amount of data for the same monthly fee. Those who get the 2GB plan for $30 per month, for example, will get 4G of data. The promotion runs “through the holidays,” Verizon said, so it will apply to the Galaxy Nexus.
In a new ad for the Galaxy Nexus (below), Verizon touts the benefits of an Android-based OS, as well as access to Google+ Circles and Hangouts. The spot opens with a Galaxy Nexus owner facing a group of people; “it’s your social network, all mixed together,” a voiceover says, a dig at Facebook. “With the Galaxy Nexus by Samsung, now you organize your contacts into Circles, like you do in real life, so you can choose what they see and what they don’t.”
Of course, Google+ is also available on other platforms, like iOS.
The Galaxy Nexus, however, runs on Verizon’s 4G LTE network, which justcelebrated its first-year anniversaryand is now available in 190 markets.
The Galaxy Nexus features a 4.65-inch HD Super AMOLED display with 1280-by-720 resolution. It runs a 1.2-GHz processor and features a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera and 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera for video chat—and Google+ Hangouts.
The next-gen handset boasts a super-thin 9.47mm design and features a curved back that’s contoured for a “softer, more natural look and feel.” The buttonless design and slip-resistant hyperskin backing are also highlights.
The smartphone includes 1GB of RAM and 32GB of storage.
The Galaxy Nexus is also the first device in the U.S. to run Ice Cream Sandwich, the most recent version of Google’s Android operating system. In reviewing the OS, PCMag mobile analyst Sascha Segan found that ICS “adds dozens of features, changes and improves the interface, and makes much better use of the latest smartphone hardware.”
Google and Samsung first showed off the Galaxy Nexus at an October event in Hong Kong. The smartphone made its debut overseas last month, but the release date for the Verizon version in the U.S. has been a mystery until now.
Amidst the delays, PCMag’s Segan argued a true “Google experience” phone will never appear on Verizon or Sprint. For more, see How CDMA Is Killing the Galaxy Nexus Idea.
Segan did get some hands-on time with an unlocked version of the Galaxy Nexus last month, and he was impressed. “From what I’ve seen so far in a day with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus phone, Android users should be demanding their share of Ice Cream—and it should absolutely make a difference in your phone purchases,” he wrote.