Galaxy Nexus gets release date and pricing

The Samsung-made Galaxy Nexus Android smartphone will come out in Europe in about three weeks' time, the manufacturer has said.Samsung used Twitter to announce the 17 November release date on Thursday, with online retailer Amazon UK now also showing the date on its listing for the phone.

The Samsung-made Galaxy Nexus Android smartphone will come out in Europe in about three weeks' time, the manufacturer has said.

Samsung used Twitter to announce the 17 November release date on Thursday, with online retailer Amazon UK now also showing the date on its listing for the phone. SIM-free, the device will retail at £549.99, although the operators Three, O2 and Vodafone will subsidise it for contract customers.

The Galaxy Nexus is the latest in a series of devices that Google uses to showcase the latest major versions of its Android operating system, in this case 'Ice Cream Sandwich' (ICS) Android 4.0. The last one, the Nexus S, was also made by Samsung, although the original Nexus One was an HTC affair.

One attraction of the Nexus devices is that they are the first to get updates to the latest versions of Android. This is because they have no manufacturer customisation and run a stock version of the operating system that allows Google to push upgrades straight to the user, over the air.

Android product management chief Hugo Barra has reportedly said the Nexus S will get upgraded to ICS "within weeks". However, the two-year-old Nexus One will not be moved onto Android 4.0, he added, because it is too outdated to run the new version.

Although the Nexus S and Nexus one both have 1GHz processors, they are not the same processor model, and the Nexus S also has significantly more ROM than its predecessor.

According to blogger Michael DeGusta, who has worked out a chart of Android handsets and the versions they run, 16 of the 18 Android phones already released in the US will never get updated to ICS. He blamed manufacturers for this, accusing them of trying to force customers to buy new phones to get the latest versions of Android.

Google's own live view of the different versions in use suggests almost 39 percent of Android users are on the recent 'Gingerbread' iteration. More than 45 percent are still on the previous version, 'Froyo' Android 2.2, while 12 percent use 'Eclair' version 2.1. 'Cupcake' 1.5 and 'Donut' 1.6 still have just over one percent each of the total Android user base.

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