With Google and Samsung's answers to Apple's iOS 5-powered iPhone 4S finally unveiled, the IBTimes brings you a complete breakdown of what the two tech power-houses brought to the table at the 19 Oct. Hong Kong unveiling.
Samsung's Galaxy Nexus
As was expected, Samsung unveiled its new Galaxy Nexus smartphone at the event. In keeping with previous rumours, Samsung confirmed the device will be the first smartphone powered by Google's new Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS.
Set for release in November, the device will be fairly fast packing a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor. Yet, despite its power, the device screen is its primary selling point.
The new Nexus will pack a whopping 1280 x 720, 4.65 inch Super AMOLED screen, running at a native 720p resolution -- basically meaning the display will be so sharp it could slice a melon.
All this will be contained in 8.94 mm thick case, boasting the same contour display and concave rounded screen design that was first introduced in the Galxay Nexus predecessor the Nexus S.
The camera was also fairly impressive, with the new Nexus packing a 5-megapixel HD snapper. During the event the the camera was shown snapping photos with zero shutter lag and recording crisp 1080p HD videos.
Samsung gave the device a nebulous worldwide November release window. The company did not clarify which networks the device would be on past that it would be available on Japan's NTT DoCoMo.
Ice Cream Sandwich
Despite the impressive nature of the Galaxy Nexus, the big news was Google's new Android version, which despite not boasting the same 200 new features contained in Apple's iOS 5, does promise to come loaded with some nifty new features.
Roboto: One of the smallest but weirdly most noticeable changes in Ice Cream Sandwich is its new type-set, "Roboto." The new OS version's entire interface uses the new type-set and despite seeming like a minor addition, in the OS' demos, Roboto was far clearer than the lettering used in previous Android versions.
New Widgets: As has been the case with all Android updates, the new version worked to improve the user's ability to manage and use widgets, adding the ability to manage them using folders.
In Ice Cream Sandwich users' widgets are now scrollable and resizable. The OS also keeps the same drag-and-drop feature introduced in Honeycomb.
The improved folder mechanic allows users to place and organise apps within specific folders. An app draw icon at the bottom of the OS UI also allows users to neatly drop up to four folders into a shortcut tray next to the call and menu buttons.
Screen grab: Letting users immortalise their Angry Birds score, Ice Cream Sandwich also boasts the ability to take screen grabs. The new OS version will take a snap of whichever screen its on whenever the user holds down the power and volume buttons.
Improved Internet, Gmail and Calender: Ice Cream Sandwich boasts several improvements to the OS internet, Gmail and calender services.
The new internet service allows users to have 16 tabs open at any one time. Additionally, the browser now has a new "request desktop version" that allows users to see web-pages as they would be displayed on a full-blown computer.
Even better for Chrome users, the new browser was shown automatically syncing bookmarks with a PC running the Chrome browser.
The new Gmail, saw a re-worked interface, with two-line email previews and a new "action bar" at the bottom of the interface offering users various different options. The OS was shown also letting users select multiple emails.
Best of all, Ice Cream Sandwich will reportedly allow users to search their email offline. The feature will reportedly start out set to record only the last 30 days of email, though Google did promise users could set their device to grant them access to longer periods, should they so wish -- no exact limit was specified during the event.
The additions to calender were less impressive, with the new OS simply improving the user's ability to pinch-to-zoom between events.
Face Unlock: One of the few Ice Cream Sandwich features which failed to work during the event, the new Face Unlock feature is intended to lock the phone to its owner's face.
The feature will reportedly allow users to register their face to the device, meaning that instead of using gestures to unlock their phone, they will simply have to look into the camera. Unfortunately, when Google tried to demo the feature, the phone failed to recognise anyone -- a problem the demoer blamed on his "thick" make-up.
Data tracking: Without a doubt one of Ice Cream Sandwich's most pragmatic new features, the new data tracking service, will do exactly what it says on the box, allowing users to chart and control their device's data usage.
The feature was shown allowing users to see and set limits on how much data each individual app was using.
Photo and Video: Ice Cream Sandwich was shown packing a host of improved video and photo features. As well as adding a new panorama shot feature, in the OS' demo, Ice Cream Sandwich was shown instantly uploading photos to user's Google+ account.
Additionally the new Android version also boast a new improved photo editing suite. The demo at the event showed the OS applying pre-loaded filters, resize and adjust the angle on a number of images.
Ice Cream Sandwich was also shown to house new continuous autofocus, zoom while recording and time lapse options for video.
The New People App: Following the band-wagon belief that people want to know every detail of their friends, family and even colleagues lives, Ice Cream Sandwich will also boast a new improved People App.
Marketed as an "evolution of contacts" the new feature will allow users to intergrate all their contacts social networking accounts into their contact page. Meaning that users will be able to see the contacts Facebook and Twitter accounts and updates all on one page.
Android Beam: Without a doubt the coolest feature shown at the 19 Oct. unveiling the new Android Beam feature uses NFC technology to let users send data to other Ice Cream Sandwich smartphones simply but placing the two devices back-to-back.
Beam was shown sending everything from photos and contacts to web-pages and YouTube videos. The demo showed the data transfer to be almost instantaneous.
Ice Cream Sandwich will be available to the public in November alongside the Nexus Prime. Check back at the IBTimes closer to the time for a hands-on with the new OS and smartphone.