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As sweet as they come, Samsung Galaxy

With the ever revolutionising world of mobile communication, comes Google’s Android mobile software which, with each new version brings the name of a sugary treat, such as Gingerbread or Honeycomb. Android is about to get even sweeter with Ice Cream Sandwich – a smooth, feature-rich operating system that will run first on the delectable Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone.

The Galaxy Nexus- a combination of Google’s software and Samsung’s hardware – is one of the best candidates to compete with Apple’s latest iPhone, though its price is steep as it will be available in the US for $300 with a two-year Verizon Wireless contract.

The Galaxy Nexus was jointly developed by Google Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co, like the previous phone in the Nexus line, the Nexus S. It features a slim frame with a large, curved glass screen that’s comfortable for chatting with friends and excellent for watching videos. There are 32 gigabytes of built-in storage space on the Verizon version of the phone, but no external slot for a microSD memory card. The screen, a pocket-busting 4.65 inches at the diagonal, makes the iPhone’s 3.5-inches look diminutive. And despite the size, the Galaxy Nexus manages to weigh just 4.8 ounces, slightly less than Apple’s offering.

All in all, the software looks more advanced and organised. The virtual “buttons” that usually sit at the bottom of the screen have been redesigned. There’s still a “home” and a “back” button, but no “menu” button to pull up various options within an app. Instead, there’s now a “recent apps” button that shows what you’ve been doing lately on the phone.

Another tidy change: The virtual buttons are fitted with movement sensing, so they change directions when you flip the phone sideways and disappear when you’re viewing photos or videos. With the Android browser and Gmail updated, Gmail’s new functions include the ability to search emails while offline, while the browser is zippier and has a “request desktop” option so you can check out webpages in their non-truncated desktop version.

One new “great in theory” feature is Face Unlock, which uses facial-recognition technology to unlock the phone from standby mode. You take a picture of your face with the phone, to set it up. Then, all you have to do to unlock the phone is simply stare at the screen after you press the power button. 

Android Beam is another feature of Ice Cream Sandwich, which lets you share such content as a Web page, map or video between two Android phones by bringing the backs of the phones close together. It only works with phones that have this Android software and near-field communication technology, though, so unless you and your friend both buy the Galaxy Nexus you’ll be out of luck at launch.

The phone’s 5-megapixel camera, is the snappiest I’ve seen on any Android phone. There was almost no shutter lag between shots, even when the camera is just turned on. The Galaxy Nexus can also record high-definition videos in 1080p – the best resolution you can get on a consumer camera. It’s some fun taking sunset videos with a time-lapse feature, and there are some goofy filming effects to play around with, too.

Although, there’s one bummer: Verizon is blocking the Galaxy Nexus from supporting Google Wallet, which is enables the phone to be used to buy items in some stores by tapping it to payment terminals.
Generally, though, the Galaxy Nexus is a well-rounded smartphone that serves up a noticeably freshened-up version of Android with sleek hardware. Delicious, indeed.

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