Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Galaxy Nexus and Android Ice Cream Sandwich Unveiling

Powerful, sleek, and the first Android device to run Ice Cream Sandwich.
The video plugin in Firefox crashed on my laptop, so I didn't get to view some of the last features. I rebooted the browser and reloaded the video to catch the middle of the Android "Beam" demo. Hey it actually worked!

For the most part, it was an interesting content. Some Vice President gets on the stage and brought his D game at best in presenting the device's makeup. Speed, Screen, Design, and OS. I fell asleep in the middle of Speed, and woke up to some words about the screen.

Yawn...We get it, it's fast...Just like every other device that has come out in the last 6 months. Is this one faster? Probably not anything noticeable. Let's just say it'll at least keep up, if not surpass by a smidge the leading Galaxy SII. It's nothing leaps and bounds advanced, though. And another thing...................Wha? Oh sorry...just woke up.

I'm impressed with the screen, but there's one thing it was missing in its absurd acronym: "+." Yes it's a 720p (1280x720) "HD" people go nuts. But it's a Super AMOLED, no plus. The Samsung Galaxy SII may have a "measly" WVGA 800x480 resolution screen, but it has the plus. What's the dif? The 720p sounds fabulous on paper, but the perceived resolution will not quite match the pixel density they are hoping for, as it uses a pentile arrangement of subpixels (RGBG) resulting in a resolution 3/4 of what is advertised. So, where they advertise a pixel density of 316 ppi, it may appear closer to 4.65" this is 273.5 ppi. It will most likely appear a little sharper than the GSII's, but not much. We shall see.

It looks great. The phone has a barometer. The phone has a nice, curved design.........Hey sleepy guy! Did you just say Barometer? That's cool, what's it do? Oh, you skipped right over that one huh. Well I shall enlighten. This is actually a pretty sweet feature, potentially. It tells you the barometric pressure where you are....right now. Not using GPS and the internet....just the barometer! Don't you see? Picture every person with a smartphone with a barometer. This could potentially take pressure readings at precise locations and predict weather that much more accurately. Some serious stuff.

The meat of the presentation. The UI looks pretty. I gotta say I love the social network integration that exists throughout Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) (ridiculous name). The lock screen has some interesting features, including "revolutionary" facial recognition to unlock. Demo time..."You'll see that Billy Bob can't unlock my phone because his mug is not mine. Now if I smile for 10 minutes at the camera it will...un....lock. really gonna do this to me?" It didn't unlock. Hopefully Google figures that one out before launch.

Google has taken strides in making the entire OS cohesive with similar gestures found throughout. Nothing too new in the browser. Mail shows more "people" apps integration. Their "Beam" function with NFC is pretty neat, if not a little gimmicky...A buddy is playing Minecraft, you say, "I wanna get that game!"...Your buddy butts up his phone against yours, beams it to you're in the Market place ready to download the app. Cool. However, I think NFC will bring about a lot of new and interesting functions that no one has even thought of yet.

Overall, the presentation lacked that flair that the late great Steve Jobs possessed during grand unveilings such as this. It needed that, actually. This phone and OS are supposed to be a big deal. At least, Google wants it to be a big deal.

These questions remain:
  • How much for the device?
  • How much flash storage on the device?
  • Available in November.....well when exactly? November is 2 weeks away.
  • Which carriers will house this Galaxy Nexus?
    • They mentioned LTE and HSPA+ connectivity, so Verizon and AT&T?
  • Perhaps on the minds of 1,000's of Android users...When will my device (if ever) get ICS?

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