The road to Google's Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) is finally nearing its destination. As of yesterday, the Samsung made Galaxy Nexus went on sale in the UK. Its arrival in the US on Verizon is imminent, but it'll still be another couple of weeks before we can get our hands on a CDMA/LTE sample.

The Galaxy Nexus hardware platform isn't a significant departure from what we've already seen on Android. TI was chosen as the launch silicon partner with its OMAP 4460. The SoC takes a pair of Cortex A9 CPUs running at 1.2GHz and gives them a dual-channel LPDDR2 memory interface to talk to. The GPU is Imagination Technologies' PowerVR SGX 540. The CPU side of things is comparable to Apple's A5, although the cores are clocked noticeably higher than the 800MHz we saw in the iPhone 4S. Until Tegra 3 and Krait show up, the CPU side of the 4460 is as good as it gets.

The real advantage the Galaxy Nexus has is on the software side. All of the goodness of Honeycomb makes its way to a handset along with even further optimization work. One of the early Galaxy Nexus owners ran the usual browser benchmarks on his phone and shared the results with us. Google has obviously done a lot of browser optimization in ICS as performance is now better than even Honeycomb:

SunSpider Javascript Benchmark 0.9.1 - Stock Browser

Rightware BrowserMark

The GPU in the Galaxy Nexus isn't bad by any means - the SGX 540 is competent, but it is outgunned by ARM's Mali 400 (Samsung Exynos 4210) and the SGX 543MP2 (Apple A5). As I mentioned earlier, the Galaxy Nexus wasn't about putting the fastest hardware in a phone but rather providing a stable vehicle for Ice Cream Sandwich. Results for the Galaxy Nexus have been in the GLBenchmark database for a while and show an overall improvement over previous SGX 540 implementations (the GPU clock in the 4460 is higher than in the 4430):

GLBenchmark 2.1 - Egypt - Offscreen

GLBenchmark 2.1 - Pro - Offscreen

Performance is pretty much as expected in both areas: Google really pushed the performance of its software further with Ice Cream Sandwich, while GPU performance is limited by the SGX 540. The good news is that there's more than enough hardware at ICS' disposal to deliver a smooth experience. We'll be able to quantify that once we get our hands on a device.

Source: GLBenchmark, @SigThief

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  • Rummaged - Sunday, November 20, 2011 - link

    In terms of hardware it looks like it could be the best phone. Anandtech had a hands on review a week ago and then dropped the ball on a full one. WTF guys?
  • solipsism - Sunday, November 20, 2011 - link

    ICS is looking pretty good all around. I guess Jobs was right that competition was 5 years behind Apple.
  • doubledeej - Sunday, November 20, 2011 - link

    When are we going to add a Windows Phone model or two to the mix? Because they sure feel a lot faster than Android models, and it would be interesting to see the numbers.
  • augustofretes - Sunday, November 20, 2011 - link

    ICS supports HW acceleration, just like WP7. Launching Apps and other task intensive activities are faster on current android phones running gingerbread (i.e. SGS II) because they leveled the lack of HW acceleration by having better hardware, the two mixed are simply going to blow current WP7 out of the water.
  • bmaz - Sunday, November 20, 2011 - link

    It would be nice, for comparison purposes, to have the only available Meego device benchmarked as well.
  • phantom505 - Sunday, November 20, 2011 - link

    On phones are horribly unreliable.

    I have a Droid 3 with an alpha build of CM7 from Hashcode and scored slightly better than the iPhone 4S. Kinda sad since this phone is already well over 6 months old.
  • steven75 - Monday, November 21, 2011 - link

    You're also running a completely unsupported OS. Why you think that comparison is fair is the question.
  • Omid.M - Monday, November 21, 2011 - link


    Why do you guys think they didn't opt to use the 4470? According to the schedule I saw, it should've been in production around the time as the 4430/4460, unless I misread what I saw.

    I'm still amazed they didn't wait for Krait for the 2nd gen LTE modem. About to pickup the Nexus but might hold off until January; have a trip coming up in December :(

  • watch phone - Friday, November 25, 2011 - link

    The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is the first smartphone with the latest Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) operating system. Except for the tiny amount of bezel on the top and bottom and a slender sliver on either side, the front of this phone is almost all screen.
    Samsung google GALAXY Nexus Prime Experience video:

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