Galaxy Nexus Launches Tomorrow on Verizon for $299

Has Google ever released sales figures for the Nexus phones? Doesn’t seem to me like they’re particularly big sellers, even though year-after-year they’re widely reviewed as the best Android phones on the market. I spent a few minutes playing with Topolsky’s Galaxy Nexus in the On The Verge green room; some of the text editing improvements in Android 4.0 alone make it quite obviously the best Android phone in the world. But will people line up for this? Is there any Android phone that people will line up for? I point this out not to mock or make fun, but simply as an observation of how profoundly different the Android and iOS markets are. This is the Android equivalent of the iPhone 4S — the newest OS, the most features, the leading-est-edge hardware.

Also interesting to observe how Android phones have evolved in a decidedly-iPhone-like direction. The 2008 G1 had a hardware keyboard; a hardware up/down/left/right controller for moving the insertion point in text and navigating menus; dedicated hardware buttons for Menu, Home, Search, and Back; and SD card storage expansion. All of these things were held up by some critics as advantages against the iPhone. Today’s Galaxy Nexus has none of these things. (It still has a removable battery, though — does anyone want to take a bet that next year’s Nexus Whatever does not?) The biggest anti-iPhone difference in Android evolution is the ever-increasing size of the displays — the Galaxy Nexus’s measures 4.65 inches diagonally — and the corresponding increase in the overall size of the hardware.

But: the iPhone copied Android’s pull-from-the-top notification list. So it’s all even.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011