Image Source: Engadget

The Galaxy Nexus (G Nex) – The definitive Android device showcasing the prowess of Googleplex’s latest iteration of the Android – OS version 4.0 aka Ice-Cream Sandwich.

The other highlight of this device is the 4.65 inch 720p screen boasting a retina-displayesque pixel density of 316 pixels per inch.There is also the feature of Face Unlock – a gimmicky “security” feature and Android Beam which intends to take Near Field Communications (NFC) to the next level.

Is this THE Android device to get?

In my personal opinion- NO.

The device, which will likely be the only pure Android device (sans UI skins such as TouchWiz, HTC Sense etc etc etc etc) is special only for the latter point. The G Nex otherwise dumbs down other features such as the camera ( a so-so 5MP unit) and on-board storage (16GB) which is non-expandable. The Samsung Galaxy S2 (SGS2) easily trumps the G Nex on the hardware front.

Why then, does Google bother with the Nexus series?

Unlike Apple, who depend on their hardware sales, Google appears to have a lower vested interest in producing a complete hardware package. Critisms aside, the iPhone 4S has better internal and external hardware than the G Nex or for that matter, the SGS2. There is also, in my opinion, the holding back of sorts by Samsung to reduce the possible cannibalisation of their hardware sales of the SGS2 and the upcoming SGS3 by the GNex.

Android in reality is propagated by the variety of the hardware at a wide range of price points. Google is not interested in hardware sales. It leaves that to it hardware manufacturers. Samsung, HTC and Motorola have been producing headliner devices that champion the Android OS. Plus, these companies can apply their user interface (UI) modifcations of Android as a way of product differentiation. This is boon and and a curse. The latter has become the bane of Android which has led to the term “fragmentation of Android” argued as being good and bad for the platform.

Given the variations of Android devices out there, the G Nex stands out in terms of software. The G Nex and the Nexus S before it ( Nexus One is no longer capable of dealing with the latest version of Android) are the “Chosen Ones” in the Android device portfolio. These two devices will be the immediate recipients of Googleplex’s offerings. It’s owners will on the bleeding edge of Googleplex’s ideas.

In essence, the G Nex and Nexus S will be the devices of choice for the hard core Android enthusiasts and developers.Consumers who wish for a complete hardware should look to the now cheaper SGS2 or invest in the iP4S. Plus, all these device are in similar price points. I know, I know, Apple’s world is a walled garden. But given the fact that a user can get an easy 3 years of software updates(look at the 3GS)  from Apple in a powerful package, the walled garden option is an OK trade-off.

Yes, the latter against the ethos of an open source device.

But are we, in truth, really free?