Verizon Wireless finally announced that the Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone running Android 4.0 on its 4G LTE network will be available on Thursday in stores and online for $299.99 with a two-year agreement.
The announcement, which came late Wednesday, arrived after days of speculation that the phone was being delayed over a dispute between the carrier and Google over the Google Wallet application, which doesn't work on Verizon's version.
During the period many expected Verizon to release the Galaxy Nexus, problems with the carrier's LTE network arose for nearly two days, pushing LTE users to Verizon's slower 3G service.
But Verizon never admitted there was any delay in releasing the device and pointed out that it had never given an official release date until Wednesday.
Still, the phone first appeared in the UK in November and showed up last week in Canada. Verizon will carry a 4G LTE version that supports download speeds of up to 12Mbps. Online sales were set to start at 1 a.m. ET Thursday.
Many reviewers, including Computerworld blogger J.R. Raphael, tested a Galaxy Nexus that ran over the T-Mobile network.
The new device has many features putting it at the top of the market for competing smartphones, including one of the highest prices: $299.99. Many rivals are priced at $200 or $250 on other U.S. carriers.
Verizon also said Wednesday that it will double the amount of data offered with the phone for the same monthly fee in a limited offer for all its 4G LTE smartphones. That means a $30-per-month data package would provide 4GB of data instead of the normal 2GB, a spokesman for Verizon said.
Required voice plans for the phone start at $40 a month.
The Galaxy Nexus has been eagerly awaited because of its nearly pure Google experience, mostly unaffected by Verizon add-on software. It is the first device to run Android 4.0, also called Ice Cream Sandwich. Raphael called it the Android phone to beat in his review.
Features in the Galaxy Nexus that are new include Near Field Communication technology to support a data-sharing technology called Android Beam. Face Unlock allows owners to use facial recognition to unlock the Galaxy Nexus.
Android 4.0 also has a redesigned user interface that features the first software navigation buttons instead of physical ones.
The 4.65-in. HD Super Amoled Contour Display is a 1280-by-720-pixel resolution screen, making it one of the largest screens on the market. However, the phone features a thin and relatively light body, despite being wider than most phones because of the large screen. It measures 5.3 in. by 2.67 in. by .37 inches thick, and weighs 5.3 ounces. The popular iPhone 4S, by comparison, is 4.5 in. by 2.3 in. by .37 inches thick and weighs 4.9 ounces.
In addition, the Galaxy Nexus has a dual-core 1.2GHz processor and an HTML5 Web browser, putting it at the top of smartphones that support the emerging Web standard. A 5-megapixel rear-facing camera is matched with a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera for video chats.
The phone also has 1GB of memory and 32GB of internal storage
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is email@example.com.