Google's Ice Cream Sandwich and Galaxy Nexus: Is this the week?

By JR Raphael (@jr_raphael)

Google Ice Cream Sandwich Galaxy Nexus

We're almost halfway through November, the month Google's Android Ice Cream Sandwich OS and its accompanying Galaxy Nexus phone are scheduled to arrive. So where are these tasty treats already?

According to an increasing number of reports, both ICS and the new Nexus could launch within the week.

UPDATE: Android 4.0 and the Galaxy Nexus: My in-depth reviews

The most compelling new evidence comes from tablet maker Notion Ink. The company's CEO posted a blog over the weekend, noticed by the crew over at Android Central, that casually references the 17th as the date to watch for the drop of Google's Ice Cream Sandwich source code.

The significance? Once the source code is out, that means the inaugural version of Ice Cream Sandwich is officially finalized -- and both manufacturers and third-party ROM developers can get to work getting the software ready to run on all sorts of devices.

(My evolving list of which Android devices will and won't get the official upgrade will be available soon.)

I know, I know -- more rumors, right? Essentially, yes. Google has yet to confirm the date or say anything on the record about when ICS will launch, other than "sometime in November." But the Notion Ink CEO has a pretty good track record with his notes on Android release timing. Last year, the guy posted a blog mentioning a December 6 launch date for the Android Gingerbread release. He was spot-on then, so it's entirely possible he knows what he's talking about now.

[Android Ice Cream Sandwich: 10 reasons to be excited]

Google and the Galaxy Nexus News

So what about the Galaxy Nexus itself? If U.K. carriers are to be believed, the flagship ICS phone could also launch this Thursday, November 17. A representative from O2 mentioned the 17th as a sale date in a remark on Google+ late last week. Three U.K. has an "earliest delivery" date of November 18th listed on its Galaxy Nexus purchase page. And U.K. retailer Phones 4u is encouraging buyers to "pre-order today and be the first to get your hands on it on launch date," with a scheduled delivery of 11/17.

The big question, then -- for those of us in the U.S., at least -- is what's going on with Verizon. Big Red has confirmed it'll carry the phone, but thus far, it's kept quiet about any kind of definite launch date.

The rumors have been all over the map. We've seen leaks suggesting a Verizon Galaxy Nexus launch of November 17, November 21, and somewhere around Black Friday (i.e. Thanksgiving weekend). A rumor making the rounds this morning -- which is pretty unsubstantiated at the moment -- predicts Verizon's release being pushed back to early December. Until Verizon comes forward with official info, it's impossible to know which window will end up being right.

Even Samsung is dodging the question. When a Samsung exec appeared on Fox Business to show off the new Nexus last week, he said the phone would be available in the U.S. "just a little bit later this year." When pressed for more specifics about pricing, he simply said: "Hopefully Verizon will let us know very soon."

Blog reports, meanwhile, suggest internal training has begun at Verizon to prepare employees for the phone's launch. Signs of Verizon-branded Galaxy Nexus accessories have also started popping up around the Web.

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And one final tidbit to keep in mind: Google has announced an Android-related event for this Wednesday, November 16. The most common theory is that the event will revolve around the next phase of Google's Google Music service -- a notion reinforced by some music store screenshots leaked over the weekend -- but given the timing, it's always possible the Android team could use the spotlight to deliver some official ICS and Nexus news, too.

[Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs. HTC Rezound and Droid RAZR]

All considered, we're almost certainly at the final stretch; Ice Cream Sandwich and the Galaxy Nexus should be in our hands soon. Between that and the quad-core power of the upcoming Transformer Prime, we should have no shortage of new toys to lust after this winter.

JR Raphael writes about smartphones and other tasty technology. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

Article copyright 2011 JR Raphael. All rights reserved.

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