Apple's iPhone To Face Its Toughest Challenger Yet: Samsung's Galaxy Nexus

This is the first phone to run the new version of Google’s Android operating system known as Ice Cream Sandwich. Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus will use Verizon’s network and is expected to be in stores any day now; it went on sale in the UK yesterday. But, strangely, neither Samsung nor Google has set a firm date for the U.S. release or said how much it will cost  — and the model sent to gadget reviewers ran on T-Mobile’s network. Still, most are gushing over the device. Among its more striking features: It uses facial recognition technology so you can unlock the phone by putting its camera in front of your face. Also, it’s said to be able to take pictures instantly without the common and annoying cell phone shutter lag. The Galaxy Nexus has a 4.65-inch Super AMOLED screen and a 1.2 GHZ dual core processor.

Our colleagues over at BGR say that “it is the best Android handset we’ve seen far as hardware and software go…The phone finally feels like it has a personality, even if it’s that of a robot from a TRON-like world.” Engadget says that it’s “an impressive flagship phone and Android 4.0 is a significant step forward for Google.” USA Today’s Ed Baig says that “many new features are indeed a welcome treat” — but adds that he needs more time to give it a full review: He notes that the facial recognition feature sometimes didn’t work in dim light (you can use a password as well) and the battery life “doesn’t seem great.” CNET gave the phone four stars, saying that it is “a big step forward for Android, but it’s not the giant leap you may have been  expecting.”

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