Google and Samsung have just unveiled in Hong Kong both Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the world’s first smartphone with Ice Cream Sandwich.

As for release dates, Samsung has announced that the phone will launch in November in the U.S., Europe, and Asia (including Japan, on NTT DoCoMo). It seems that they are leaving it up to the carriers to make the announcements in each country for themselves.

See our live coverage of the Google Episode of the Samsung Mobile Unpacked 2011 event in Hong Kong just a few hours ago..

You know we’ll post the info as soon as we have the official word.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus Specifications

  • Network: HSPA+ 21Mbps/HSUPA 5.76Mbps 850/900/1900/1700/2100, EDGE/GPRS 850/900/1800/1900
    Specifications above may differ in the LTE version.
  • Processor: 1.2 GHz Dual-core Processor (OMAP 4460)
  • Display: 4.65-inch 1280×720 HD Super AMOLED display, aspect ratio of 16:9, contrast ratio of 100,000:1, and 0.01 ms response time
  • OS: Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Main (Rear) Camera: 5 MP, with autofocus and LED flash (with zero shutter lag and fast shot-to-shot)
  • Sub (Front) Camera: 1.3 MP for video call
  • Sensor: accelerometer, compass, gyroscope, light, proximity, barometer
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM + 16/32 GB internal memory
  • Dimensions and weight: 135.5 mm x 67.94 mm x 8.94 mm, 135 g
  • Battery: Li-ion 1,750 mAh

The Galaxy Nexus looks like a highly polished piece of hardware, with great new features like Google+ integration, impressive panoramic photo support, and Face Unlock facial recognition capability.

The phone features a 4.29-millimeter bezel (very thin), with a body at just 8.94 mm thin. On the front is the world’s first 4.65-inch HD Super AMOLED display running at 1280×720 resolution and at an aspect ratio of 16:9.

Internally, there’s a 1.2-GHz, dual-core Texas Instruments OMAP 4460 processor, along with 1 GB of RAM and 16 or 32 GB of internal storage.

In the camera department, we’re looking at a 5-megapixel shooter that appears able to take very, very quick photos. And, of course, there’s going to be a 1.3-megapixel camera on the front of the device for video calls, too. Plus, the Galaxy Nexus will have HSPA+ and LTE connectivity, depending on your region.

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

Google intended Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to be enchanting, easy, and awesome–design principles that have guided Android developers in producing the best-yet version of what Samsung’s JK Shin describes as “the world’s most popular platform.”  With Ice Cream Sandwich running on the Galaxy Nexus, users are assured of a “pure Google” experience.

Andy Rubin, Android’s daddy and senior vice president for Google mobile, described the new Android version in a press release as follows:

Ice Cream Sandwich demonstrates the Android platform’s continued innovation with one release that works on phones and tablets and everything in between. Features like Android Beam and Face Unlock show the innovative work our team is doing, and GALAXY Nexus showcases the power behind Ice Cream Sandwich.

Among the features highlighted at the unveiling for Ice Cream Sandwich are the following:

  • Roboto font used all throughout ICS
  • redesigned and improved Lock screen
  • more usable virtual buttons (and hide-able, too, when watching videos)
  • resizeable drag-and-drop widgets for the Home screen
  • well-organized folders, with drag-and-drop functionality (“dead simple to use,” according to Matias Duarte)
  • “tossing” out menu items (e.g., in folders, browser, notification items) with just a flick gesture
  • instant screenshot with the press of the Power + Volume Down buttons
  • more responsive and more accurate keyboard with built-in spell checker
  • drag-and-drop copy-paste functionality within keyboard app
  • voice-to-text functionality
  • Face Unlock — “ICS literally knows your face”

  • improved tabbed browsing
  • “Desktop” versions of websites can be viewed on phone, in addition to mobile versions of the websites
  • better GMail app, with offline search capability
  • “extremely readable” Calendar app, with pinch-to-zoom functionality
  • Data Usage settings — can be used to set limits for data usage and to monitor which apps use data connections
  • “insanely fast” Camera app with one-tap exposure setting, “zero shutter lag,” photo editing tools, and panorama photo capture
  • magazine-style layout in Gallery app
  • 1080p video recording, with continuous focus, zoom while recording, time lapse, video snapshots features
  • People app — neat way for organizing contacts and staying connected with them
  • Android Beam — uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology for sharing stuff from phone to phone

Google has also made available the Software Development Kit for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, which developers can use to create great and awesome apps for the new version of Android.

The Galaxy Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich tandem is surely a powerful, fun-filled one.

Excited? Picking up a Galaxy Nexus for yourself this November?

Read comments