The Galaxy Nexus has finally arrived in the United States after showing up in places like Europe and Hong Kong several weeks ago. This is a Samsung smartphone running the very latest and greatest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich. And there are no factory-installed tweaks to the OS either — it’s straight Android, no mixer.
Obviously this is good news for those who’ve been excited to see the latest Google superphone firsthand, but the timing for this launch is very unusual. It arrived on shelves Thursday — right at the top of holiday shopping crazy season. In fact, by the time this thing went on sale in the U.S., crazy season may have already peaked.
So why the delay? Actually, it’s not really a delay, since Verizon never promised a specific release date until the day before it actually came out. But the timing is still very odd. One guess is that it all comes back to Google Wallet, the company’s new mobile payment technology. Verizon happens to be a major backer of competing technology, ISIS, and it didn’t want to see Google Wallet on the Nexus. Verizon says the reasoning was purely technical, but it hasn’t exactly been generous with details. Anyway, Google complied with Verizon’s wishes, but the suspicion is that there was a lot of arm wrestling being done over this, thus the late-in-the-season U.S. launch.
It’s hard to say how many sales that situation actually cost Verizon. We’re still in the midst of the holiday shopping season, of course. But as the Nexus had no set date of arrival, some holiday shoppers who wanted to give someone a nice new smartphone this year may have decided it wasn’t worth it to wait until the last minute. So they picked up a Razr, or a Galaxy S II. Or even an iPhone.
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Let My OS Go
For months, the mobile operating system webOS has wallowed in HP’s dungeon as a political prisoner. HP acquired the platform under Mark Hurd when it bought Palm, but a regime change ushered in the leadership of Leo Apotheker, who was no friend of the kinds of consumer-oriented devices webOS powers. Products were discontinued, webOS was sent to purgatory, and the fate of the operating system that lots of people liked but nobody seemed to want was left up in the air.
But Apotheker’s reign at HP was almost comically short, and the new boss at HP, Meg Whitman, has managed to make a decision about webOS: It will live on, it will not be sold to another company, but it won’t remain the possession of HP, either. Instead, it’s