Samsung Galaxy Nexus
With so many smartphone manufacturers building devices that use the free Google Android operating system, competition can be fierce. There's one line, however, that has moved from one manufacturer to another -- the Nexus brand, reserved for Google's flagship phone. The end of 2011 saw the release of the Galaxy Nexus from Samsung, the first to use Android 4.0, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich.
Android fans like the Nexus phones because they're supposedly more of a pure Android experience, rather than an OS tailored to phone manufacturers' wants. Google's Nexus phones are also more likely to receive operating system updates in a timely manner -- carriers are known for sending updates at their own pace, which can be frustrating for those longing to stay on the cutting edge.
Unlike many phones in the United States, which carry a steep discount if customers agree to a contract, the Galaxy Nexus was expected to launch at a high cost: $299 from Verizon Wireless with a two-year contract [source: Hachman].
The Galaxy Nexus also has a large high-resolution display, a dual-core processor and near-field communication, which enables the user to store his or her credit card information on the phone to use it for payments. These new hardware and software features had gadget fans craving the Samsung Galaxy Nexus for much of 2011.
Android fans discussed Samsung's new phone for some time before its release, but the gadget on the next page caught many people off guard upon its release.