My New Samsung Galaxy Nexus Android Smartphone Running Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0

Knowing you guys, you have already seen the photos and the videos all over the internet about this phone.

I will add a few pics, videos and equipment links for those who want to check deeper.

And, if you are like me, you got a bit frustrated after just a couple of short delays….

But the phone got released on December 15th and that is the day I ordered mine.

There are bumps along the road for everything–so, what bumps have I experienced with the Galaxy Nexus?

Well, for starters, I still want to call this phone the “Prime”.  In fact I do call it Prime most of the time.  It’s just a better name for a device.

My 10.1 Tablet is my Galaxy and there is already a Nexus or two out there.  I may continue to call it Prime.

Got my box from FedEx, opened it.  Opened it again.  Then searched thru everything.

No SIM card and since the phone is 4G nothing I have would work even if they fit.

Bump #1.

Finally called Verizon and they promised to send one immediately.

Immediate was not very fast and then I got caught up with FedEx holiday deliveries.  It took like a week to get the replacement SIM.

Bump #2

Once FedEx delivered the SIM,  I installed it and put the battery cover back on the device.  At least the battery was 100% charged with the delay.  SIM installed and phone starts the on-line process.  And then it stalls.  I wait and eventually go online with Verizon.  A few dozen complaints in the Galaxy Nexus user forums about the same issue of phones locking up during the registration process.

Bump #3

Two days later I take the phone to the Verizon store.

Took three Verizon employees and one hour but they got it running again and thru the registration process.  Plus they gave me a new back cover.

Bump #4.  I think I will quit counting.

Since then things have worked fine and humming along.  I lost if for a few hours and thought for sure it was gone 4ever.  But it got itself found!  And is back in my clutches.

I like a number of basic things about this phone, such as:

  • the screen size.  You have heard it is some 4.65 inches which seems huge.  But that includes the move of the physical buttons to on-screen buttons.  That means it is really not as large as it sounds because what used was overall phone size on my old Droid is now the screen size as the screen really flows nearly edge-to-edge.
  • the feel of the backside of the phone.  Almost Kevlar feeling and gives a certain heft to a Samsung phone which tend to feel “plastic-y”.
  • 4g LTE speed
  • Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 is much smoother.  Good updated OS

What do I need to get used to?

  • the weight.  My Droid had a physical keyboard (which I liked a lot) and of course the Nexus does not so it is light as a feather.  I like that but I worry…

What is included??

  • Android 4.0 Ice Cream
  • 4.65-inch HD Super AMOLED Screen with 720p resolution
  • 1.2GHz dual-core processor
  • Redsigned UI in Android 4.0
  • Improved multi-tasking, notifications, Wi-Fi hotspot, NF support, full web browsing
  • Android 4.0 features Software Navigation buttons – brand new
  • People App with Google+ Integration among other features
  • Redesigned camera with panorama mode, 1080p video, zero-shutter lag, silly faces and background replacement features
  • Face Unlock: Facial recognition to unlock your phone! BOOM that just happened.
  • Android Beam uses NFC to easily share content with other Android users with the bump of phones
  • PURE GOOGLE EXPERIENCE
  • All the Google Apps you love from Android Market and GMail to Movie Studio and redesigned Google+ app
  • 8.94mm thick, 4.29mm bezel
  • LTE and HSPA+ connectivity
  • Available in USA, Europe, and Asia beginning in November and then rolled out globally

This site will connect you with reviews, videos and accessories for your Nexus.  Check em out.

They have videos showing the individual accessories so you can see howmit fits, how it looks and how it works before you buy the accessory.

On-line manual:

The phone comes with a small highlights thingie like comes with the Samsung Galaxy Tab if you have seen that.  For in-depth issues or a desire to learn more, Samsung has a great on-line manual that you can save to your hard-drive as a *.pdf.  Check it out here, assuming your Model # is SCH-1515 (find it under your battery).

Check out the Tips & Tricks from Samsung.

Speed:

The Nexus is hecka fast and connected to Verizon’s 4g LTE (Long Term Evolution, stupid name) it burns the network.  I keep trying the speedtest tricks (using the Ookla testing app) and have seen download speeds of 15,000 kbps and nearly 25000 kbps.  Upload of 5400kbps to over 7000 kbps.

After my original Droid and eventually Verizon’s 3g this thing feels like it will just melt in my hands it is so fast.

Cost:

I bought immediately and new I would be spending $299.  Amazon had them at $199 for new Verizon customers (I was already on Verizon) and I heard (but did not see) a one day special at $99 for new customers with the 2 year contract.  I’m ok with the price I paid although half that would be cool.

Truth is providers should charge the manufacture cost for their phones hooked to a contract.  They make their money on service not on the device.

You will find a pretty good review at eweek.  Reads like just a normal guy, not one of those tech driven reviews from a technical site.  Even though eweek is just that.  Nice job.

PCWorld has a review here.  It’s more like his initial impressions, not a full review you would expect from this magazine, but definitely a worthwhile read if you are thinking of buying this phone or even considering it.

“…in my hands-on use, I was impressed with the snappy dual-core 1.2GHz TI OMAP 4460 processor. Apps launched promptly, and videos ran perfectly. As I mentioned before, multitasking takes a bit longer than expected. Scrolling through Web pages and menus, too, isn’t as fluid as I would like.

Verizon’s 4G LTE network, of course, plays a huge role in the speediness of the Galaxy Nexus. In my tests using the FCC-approved Ookla Speedtest app, the Galaxy Nexus achieved download speeds ranging from 6.69 to 12.11 megabits per second and upload speeds of 21.18 mbps. In other words, the Galaxy Nexus is blazingly fast.”

The full review from PCWorld is here.

I don’t use the facial unlock feature (yet), but in case you are interested:

You’ve probably heard a lot of buzz about the ability to unlock your phone with your face. The front-facing camera snaps a picture of you and then uses facial recognition software the next time you unlock your phone. It’s cool, most definitely, but it’s not the most secure way of protecting your phone. As Google warns, somebody who looks similar to you can unlock your phone with their face. Nevertheless, face unlock works well, and it is a pretty neat–although somewhat gimmicky–feature.”

I have been impressed with the browser in ICS and I’m glad to see PCWorld is too.  “The browser in Ice Cream Sandwich is just about as close as you can get to a desktop one. You can now set the browser to request full desktop versions of sites, not the lesser mobile versions. You can also sync your bookmarks from the desktop Chrome browser to the Browser app in Ice Cream Sandwich. Google has added support for tabbed browsing, and you can quickly view which tabs are open, each with a live preview of that page.”

Android Newbies:

Here is Part 1 of the Beginners Guide to the New Android.  The author, from Android Activists, promises more to help everyone understand, work on and customize their various Android devices like phones, tablets, netbooks, toys…

Android non-Newbies:

According to Android Headlines and others today (January 3, 2012) Google’s partners will begin to push Ice Cream Sandwichout to some phones this week as an OS update.

I will have to wait a bit for an update to land on the doorway to my Galaxy Tablet 10.1 but now I am really looking forward to an Android update.

While you are at it—check out the New York Times’ list of the Top 10 Android Apps for 2011.  Long as you have a new or updated OS on your phone, might as well add some good apps!!  And thanks @mjdub for pointing me to the list

Detailed review—the link takes you to Android Centrals review of the Verizon 4g LTE version of this phone, but that review contains a link to their own review of the GSM version of this same phone.  So you get two reviews in one!!

And, since their reviews are better than mine would be, I will forgo writing a review here.  Yes, I know.  I said that I would.  But I won’t.  So there.

Read the reviews at the link, you will appreciate my decision.

Do you root your phone?  Droid of some kind??  Or, do you want to root your phone???

Here’s rooting in a nutshell: Your Android smartphone is based on Linux. A big, bad, scary computer operating system known only by people with neck beards. (Only, not really. But mostly.) Anyhoo, Android apps need permission to access certain parts of Linux, and not all apps have this special “root” access. That includes a few basic things, like the camera flash, and the ability to take screen shots. There are a bunch of other apps that need root access for other reasons, too, but the basic premise is the same.”

Go here to learn more about “why”.

And go here to learn all of the “How’s”.  It sounds scary because you are playing in the phone’s guts, but get some good instructions (like these from cnet) and you will be fine.

In the case of the Verizon Galaxy Nexus, an automated method for unlocking the bootloader as well as rooting is now available. Wug’s Galaxy Nexus root toolkit was released earlier in the week, affording Galaxy Nexus owners the ability to unlock and root their device in a few clicks. Currently, the process is only compatible with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus for Verizon, with GSM compatibility coming soon. “

The Top 10 Reasons to Root:

This link gives you many reasons including APPs you don’t otherwise have access to, updates  and the vnerable “Just Cuz You Can”.

The link also leads you to Rooting instructions for other phones including

  • LG Optimus GT
  • Motorola Backflip
  • Generic Android Phone or Device
  • Huawei Ideos X6 U900

Got a phone/Device not shown here?  Check out the generic information or do a searcfh for “How to Root” your phone or device

After you are done, feel free to comment here and let us know where you got instructions, how the process went and what you are enjoying the most about having a Rooted smartphone, tablet etc

So, do you have a Verizon Galaxy Nexus?  Root it!  They have made it extremely easy and nearly fail-proof.  Or check you local Craigslist, you will see lots of peeps with some level of experience just willing to do it for you.

This is the first version of Android that combines an elegent look and feel with a mature and polished behavior of an excellent OS.  Not sure how it behaves on a tablet (I suspect with some Tab specific tweaks it will be just fine) but Android as a “pure Google experience) has become an excellent cellphone Operating System (OS).

It looks polished and certainly behaves well.  It is fast as blazes (4G is a big part of that I’m sure) as you move from screen to screen, opening Apps & Widgets but it is even better when you are working or playing and realize you have not stalled or rebooted unless your big fingers get in the way of something.

Taken with the Nexus on New Years:

The battery and the rear/battery cover which has a nice texture to it and gives the phone a good “grip”.

January 30th (by 16 minutes):

Wait one effing minuteI am used to my newest, greatest & baddest technology devices being old, outdated and soon to be replaced about a week after purchase.  Well, a few months anyway because I tend to research and select well, trying to stay a bit ahead of the “new” curve.  I bought this device the day after it was released in the U.S.  Now, a few weeks later, this rumor about an “updated” Galaxy Nexus from Samsung/Google?

Anyway, I’m sure they are working on the Next Gen device because the Nexus has been so popular.  But I am guessing the phone described is something other than the Galaxy Nex.  But maybe I am just wanting my phone to be “new” a little longer.

February 1st:

Can you believe that it is February??

Better yet—can you believe that my Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which I bought mid-December is STILL the best Android phone on Verizon?  In fact, it is the best phone Android, Apple or other.   For almost 2 fucking months!

At the link above you will find a list of the best Android phones on the market as of February 1, 2012.  The list is broken dowwn by provider.

Each phone also has a detailed review and they add some info on soon-to-be upcoming phones (Like the “Note”).

This is a must-read for anyone considering a new phone.

February 3rd:

I am not an expert on smartphones, Linux, Google or many or the other “phone” subjects.  I wish that I were.

This tidbit came via Twitter today.  The article seems to just be telling people that Google is clarifying the support they provide to CDMA devices (such as the Galaxy Nexus with ICS.

Because of paranoia or whatever it was posted on Twitter as if Google was completely dropping support for the Nexus.  From my reading, I don’t think so (??) but I am not sure.  It would not make sense for Google to drop support for their own devices.  The “Nexus” name translates to Google even if it is built by Samsung.

The Open Source Project is here.

February 9th:

Lots of Tweets and posts today saying only Rooted smartphones were subject to peeps breaking into you Google Wallet.  I don’t use it myself because I expect it to be vulnerable.  But it turns out that you don’t have to have a rooted phone to have a hole in your Wallet.

Read here for the latest on this issue.

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