Courtesy of the loose lips of Japan’s leading cellular carrier, NTT DoCoMo, we now have the specifications for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus (Prime). Software-wise, there are no surprises: it will run Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, but on the hardware front… well, there’s no easy way to put this: the Galaxy Nexus has a lower spec than the iPhone 4S and Galaxy S II, and it’s even comparable to the Nexus S in terms of graphics power. (Updated @ 23:00 EST: The following specs have now been confirmed by Samsung and Google.)
Now, rest assured that the Galaxy Nexus Prime will look the part: it has a vast 4.7-inch 1280×720 AMOLED screen, and the handset and screen have more curves than a curvy thing — but beyond that, this is hardly a landmark phone. There’s 1GB of RAM either 16 or 32GB of internal storage (and seemingly no SD card slot), a 5-megapixel camera, and it supports the complete gamut of 2G, 3G, and 4G wireless technologies (except WiMax). Most importantly, though, the brains of the operation is the OMAP4460 application processor which has two Cortex-A9 cores clocked at 1.2GHz — quite fast, certainly, but it isn’t the 1.5GHz Exynos that we were hoping for.
It is because of the OMAP4460 processor that the Galaxy Nexus will only have the PowerVR SGX540 GPU, an antiquated beast from 2007 that can actually be found underneath the hood of last year’s Nexus S, and in the Droid Bionic. The SGX540 is very weak compared to the Mali-400 GPU found in Samsung’s Exynos SoC (the one that powers the Galaxy S II), and it’s positively snail-paced against the Apple A5′s SGX543MP2.
What this means is that the Galaxy Nexus is going to be slightly faster than the Droid Bionic, slower than the Galaxy S II by a small margin, and significantly slower than the A5-powered iPhone 4S. The Galaxy Nexus might have a larger, brighter, higher-resolution screen than the iPhone 4′s Retina display, but it won’t necessarily have the graphics chops to actually render OpenGL games at 1280×720 at smooth framerates.
At this point there is still hope that NTT DoCoMo’s specs are incorrect, but in all likelihood it now seems confirmed that tonight’s event will be all about Ice Cream Sandwich, rather than the device itself. We will probably have to wait for next year’s Galaxy S III and the Exynos 5250, a Cortex-A15-based SoC, before we see an Android phone that can compete with Apple’s iPhone 4S.
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