Samsung, Google unveil ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’ phone
South Korea’s Samsung Electronics on Wednesday unveiled its newsmartphone that runs on Google’s latest Android operating system, the latest weapon in its battle to topple Apple’s iPhone.
The launch of the “Galaxy Nexus”, which comes days a after the new iPhone 4S went on sale, was initially scheduled for October 11 but was delayed following the death of Apple chief Steve Jobs as a gesture of respect.
Samsung — the world’s number two mobile phone maker — and Apple are also engaged in a series of patent lawsuits over the technology and design of smartphones and tablet computers.
“We are very proud of this milestone,” Samsung’s Mobile Communications Business president JK Shin said as the new phone was unveiled in Hong Kong.
The Galaxy Nexus is the first device to use the new Android “Ice Cream Sandwich” — a title that continues Google’s tradition of naming its operating systems after desserts in alphabetical order.
The firms said the new handset offers easier and quicker Internet browsing, an improved camera and enhanced security using face recognition technology.
It also features “Android Beam”, a function that allows content to be shared between two devices by simply touching them together.
The smartphone will be available in the United States, Europe and Asia from November, before being gradually rolled out to other markets. Its price was not announced.
The launch of the Galaxy Nexus come as Apple’s iPhone 4S has already notched up sales of more than four million units since launching in seven countries on Friday.
The Apple handset will be available in 22 other countries, including much of Europe, by the end of October, and more than 70 countries by the end of 2011.
However, Samsung is seeking a ban of sales of the new iPhone in Japan, Australia, France and Italy, citing what it called patent infringements regarding mobile technology, part of an escalating legal saga between the two.
The legal battle over the $100 billion smartphone and tablet computer market began in April in the US when Apple accused Samsung of “slavishly” copying its market-leading iPhone and iPad.