Nov 08 AT 12:56 PM Dustin Earley 110 Comments

The Galaxy Nexus is easily the most anticipated device of the year. The hype surrounding the launch of the next Nexus is unmatched by even the most drawn-out device launches, Bionic and US Galaxy S II included. But as the year continues on and more high-end Android devices make their way into carrier portfolios, you have to wonder what’s going on. What happened to the launch that could have been? Where is the Galaxy Nexus?

The announcement

The announcement of the Galaxy Nexus was delayed for a reasonable cause. But why didn’t they just delay it further? Instead of announcing and detailing a device that is coming out several weeks later, why not just hold off on the unveiling and wait until the Nexus was ready to ship? So they could compete with Apple and try to tempt people away from buying the iPhone with the promise of a device that wasn’t confirmed for any specific carrier, without a price and no firm release date? In the end, it just makes Google look a little sloppy. “We have a device that exists, with these specs, running Ice Cream Sandwich, and it will come out someday.” That’s not what consumers want to hear. People hate being left to wait. By announcing, detailing and releasing a device at so many different dates, you create a roller-coaster of excitement that eventually no one wants to ride.

Just think about it like this: It’s been almost a month since the Galaxy Nexus was first announced, and we still don’t know the full who, when and for how much of the device. Not everyone is just going to sit around and wait to see if the Nexus should even be a contender for their next phone.

Too little too late

One of the big original rumors tied to the launch of the Galaxy Nexus was how the device would be used in the market share battle vs Apple and the iPhone. For quite some time, it was rumored that Google would push the Nexus right around the same time as the iPhone 4S. That time has come and gone, and the latest iPhone now has a healthy lead over the Nexus. Other Android devices have been released in an appropriate time frame to really compete, but some of the heavy hitters of the holiday season have either just released or are about to soon. If you’re wondering just how the lack of the Droid RAZR, Galaxy Nexus and some Galaxy S II configurations may have affected iPhone sales, just take a look at 4S preorders. They are record shattering, and the Galaxy Nexus was nowhere to be found. Google couldn’t have single-handedly stopped that with the Nexus, but just sitting back and watching wasn’t the best approach. Google missed that window of opportunity. So what’s next? Black Friday?

Rumors are still swirling as to when the Galaxy Nexus will be released. Some say before Black Friday, but some say after. If the Galaxy Nexus launches after Black Friday, the amount of face time consumers will get with the Nexus will be much lower. As shoppers rush out to malls and department stores the day after Thanksgiving, they will undoubtedly spend a healthy amount of time in and around corporate and authorized Android dealers. The more people that get to see how amazing the Galaxy Nexus is in person, the better. Google can’t miss this opportunity.

So who’s getting the Nexus anyway?

Our readers here at Android and Me have made one thing very clear. They want to know who will be carrying the Galaxy Nexus. More than when it will be available and for how much, people just want to know if their carrier of choice will even carry the phone. And we still have no idea. Verizon is the only sure thing in the US at this point. For everyone else, it’s still a guessing game.

We know a model exists that will work with T-Mobile and AT&T, but nothing has been announced for either carrier. A Sprint Nexus has been tipped in some leaked internal documents, but again, nothing has been made official. Meanwhile, the iPhone 4S has already been made available on three of the four largest carriers in the US, and it’s hitting regional carriers soon.

As a T-Mobile customer, I am stuck. I don’t want to switch carriers and incur an early termination fee for the Galaxy Nexus, but if the device doesn’t come to T-Mobile, I don’t know what I will buy. I’m still using a Nexus S, and it’s starting to feel old. ICS will probably help me get through the wait ahead, but why hasn’t Google just come out and said who’s going to get the Nexus already?

Just another carrier device

Is the Galaxy Nexus doomed to become yet another carrier device? The Nexus One and S are shining examples of what Android devices should be. No bloatware, timely updates and all the latest features Google has to offer. Sure, the Droid RAZR will be a great device, but consumers will be forced to live with oodles of apps and software they don’t want on their device. The Galaxy Nexus should be different. But will it be?

All signs suggest the Galaxy Nexus will be a Verizon exclusive in the US (for at least awhile), with Verizon pulling the strings behind the marketing and release. If the Galaxy Nexus was just another Verizon phone, how much bloatware would find its way onto the device? Would Verizon be allowed to mess with the look or limit settings eventually? Will it turn into another Nexus S 4G scenario, where even though the Nexus is made available on several different carriers, only one version gets certain updates and features first?

We don’t know the answers to a lot of these questions, because Google doesn’t want us to. As far as we know, the Galaxy Nexus is a Verizon 4G phone that will release sometime in the next couple months. As far as the average consumer knows, well, they probably don’t know much of anything. In fact, I doubt they even know the Galaxy Nexus exists. Even if they do, I highly doubt they’re sitting on their hands waiting for it to release.

Google, what happened to the launch that could have been? The launch that should have happened weeks ago, on all four major carriers in the US (at the very least), with a barrage of marketing showing just what Ice Cream Sandwich can do?

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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