UPDATE: Google has confirmed that the Galaxy Nexus IS coming to Canada in November!
"Starting in November, Galaxy Nexus will be available in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia."
Google is about to announce their next version of Android, 4.0, AKA Ice Cream Sandwich, and also the new Samsung Galaxy Nexus superphone. While the Future Shop Blog doesn't have any way to properly live blog an event - and I am not actually there in Hong Kong anyways - I am going to attempt a reasonable facsimile of one by just constantly updating this post!
The event starts at 10 PM EST, and since I am not there I will have to resort to reposting some pictures from the awesome tech blog www.thisismynext.com (who soon will be www.theverge.com) instead of taking my own!
10:00 PM: - The event has just started! - Google's tag line for it is "Calling all possibilities"
10:03 PM: - Samsung President J.K. Shim Introduced
10:05 PM: Google and Samsung unveil the first Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone. Dual core, LTE and/or HSPA+, Super AMOLED screen
10:07 PM: Google's Andy Rubin on-stage
10:08 PM: "Go beyond smartphones" phone will "predict" what you are doing
10:09 PM: Rubin and Shin show off the Galaxy Nexus on stage. Rounded slate, with no physical buttons and minimal bezel - all screen!
10:10 PM: Kevin Packingham on stage. Going into more details. "Speed, screen, design, OS". LTE & HSPA+ options. Highlighting the fact that Samsung was the first to introduce an LTE phone & tablet.
10:14 PM: Galaxy Nexus is the first Android 4.0 phone. 1.2 Ghz Dual-core processor. Super HD AMOLED 1280x720 screen (is HD better than + ?)
10:18 PM: They made the screen big and wide (16:9 aspect ratio, 4.65 inches), but there is a minimal bezel - 4.29mm - and a contoured display like the Nexus S. The thin bezel means the phone "won't feel any bigger in your hand". It's only 8.94mm thick!
10:20 PM: 5MP Camera, 1080p HD video, backside-illuminated sensor like the iPhone 4S. NFC included.
LAUNCH DETAILS! Early November US, Europe and Asia - no mention of Canada...no carrier announcements either.
10:21 PM: That's about it for the Galaxy Nexus hardware. Now they are going to move onto Android 4.0. Matias Duarte from Google is on stage to talk about Ice Cream Sandwich.
10:23 PM: With ICS they decided to take a step back and ask "what is the soul of Android?"
10:25 PM: Three design principles to guide every decision - "enchanting, easy, make users feel powerful" & smart. New typeface for ICS - made for high resolution displays. "No more that UI that pretends to be something that it's not." "We looked to the latest trends in graphic design to inspire us." New animations to make everything "come alive"
10:26 PM: Galaxy Nexus has no physical buttons - just virtual buttons within the OS.
10:27 PM: There are 5 home-screens, improved scrollable and resizable widgets. You add them to the home-screens like Honeycomb.
10:28 PM: Folders are easier to make - just drag an app icon on top of another to make one.
10:30 PM: There is a favourites tray at the bottom where you can put 4 app links, or folders. Holding down power now takes a screenshot (finally!)
10:31 PM: Notifications have been improved - more customization, and you can dismiss them by swiping them away. The keyboard has got a lot of attention - improved error correction, in-line spell checker. Improved copy/paste - drag and drop chunks of text.
10:33 PM: Talk to text now instant.
10:34 PM: Face unlock! - This is COOL! Facial recognition to unlock your phone! Wow!
10:36 PM: Updates to the browser. 16 Tabs at once with live previews. Drop down menu to request desktop version of a site. You can save entire pages for off-line reading.
10:38 PM: Gmail updates - two line previews, new content aware action bar at the bottom. You can swipe left and right between emails. Offline search has been added - you can see last 30 days of email whether you are connected or not.
10:41 PM: Calendar updates - swiping to move between days. Pinch to zoom into events.
10:41 PM: Instead of downloading a 3rd party utility, ICS now tracks data usage in the settings section of the phone. You can set up alerts and cut-off points when you get near your monthly limit.
10:45 PM: Easier and faster to share images - three taps to share to Twitter, G+ etc. Automatic face detection in the camera app. Built in photo editing too - crop, remove red-eye and instagram like filters.
10:47 PM: Improved gallery layout which can be organized by time or location. Panorama shot also included with ICS. This is something that has been available in other Android phones, but not vanilla Android.
10:48 PM: In video mode there is now continuous autofocus and zooming while recording. There is also a cool time lapse mode.
10:50 PM: Total revamp of contacts! At the top is your profile - Me!. Contact cards now have a much bigger picture of each person. If you tap on the person's photo from anywhere on the phone, no matter the app you are in, a launcher pops-up so you can go directly to see their updates. Much better integration of social networks into contacts. While this has been done already in Android skins like Samsung's TouchWiz and HTC's SenseUI, but it looks a lot better here - more akin to Windows Phone 7.
10:54 PM: Using NFC Google has introduced Android Beam - sharing via NFC. You can share webpages, contacts, maps, YouTube videos etc. Google is also hoping 3rd party apps will take advantage of it too.
10:57 PM: And that about wraps up the preview of the Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0.
Phew that was a lot of work! If you have been keeping up with me I did fall quite behind the actual event - so this wasn't actually a live-blog! I'll be digesting all the info Google presented tonight and write up my thoughts on the phone and ICS soon, so check back!
Also while there were no specific announcements at the event about the Galaxy Nexus coming to Canada, Samsung Canada has confirmed that it will be coming here - just not when and with which carrier.
You can find out more about the Galaxy Nexus on the official site here.
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