Samsung and Google join up for some LTE love in the Nexus, will it hit Australia?

Apple may have had its fun two weeks ago with the iPhone 4S announcement, but now its biggest competitor – Google – has announced a flagship Samsung Galaxy handset running a new OS.

Packing in one of the biggest screens we’ve ever seen on a smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is a whopper of a handset. The screen represents a first for mobile phones, with a 4.65 inch Super AMOLED display supporting a resolution of 720×1280. For those of you keeping track of high end screens, that’s a 720p screen on a mobile device, a higher resolution than that of the iPhone 4S and Android devices with qHD screens. The pixel density isn’t quite as strong as the Retina display found on the new iPhone 4/4S handsets, but it’s not far off.

Spec-wise, Samsung is including a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, either 16 or 32GB of storage, microSD slot for more memory, a 5 megapixel rear camera with support for 1080p Full HD video capture, 1.3 megapixel front camera, and a fairly large 1750mAh battery.

Then there’s the support for some of the tech we’re expecting to see on more devices in the near future, such as the Near-Field Controller (NFC) useful for using your mobile like a credit card in payments.

Samsung and Google have also thrown in support for the LTE networks telcos are beginning to install in Australia, allowing you to get ultrafast download speeds from a mobile phone. We recently tested the Telstra 4G LTE network and found speeds three times faster than what most households with ADSL2+ were receiving.

Outside of the hardware, Google showed off the latest version of its OS, which the Galaxy Nexus runs on: Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich”.

The follow-up to the current iteration of Android (Gingerbread), Ice Cream Sandwich attempts to take some of the features from the tablet version of Android (Honeycomb) and merge them with the smartphone design.

One of the first ways to see this blend of ideas is with the physical buttons, a feature that won’t exist on devices running Ice Cream Sandwich. Much like the Honeycomb tablets, the new smartphones will have software based buttons, able to change to a different layout based on what the app calls for.

New to this version of Android is a phone face unlock feature able to bring your handset back from standby just by looking at the screen, new widgets, a cleaner look, and a better voice-to-text system making the phone write what you say.

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus can take panorama images in one sweep like a compact camera.

As for whether it’ll hit Australia, Samsung hasn’t been too forthcoming with news on the device. We expect that the Galaxy Nexus will arrive locally early next year, although it’s unsure if the phone will be released with support for the new high-speed 4G LTE networks. Samsung is producing versions of the handset with and without the new technology, so it’s anyone’s guess at this point.