Samsung Galaxy Nexus

That is the question. Though I wonder if many care as much about the would-be Samsung Galaxy Nexus; the would-be flagship Android phone would-be hitting Verizon stores at some unannounced, unknown date last speculated to be tomorrow, December 15 (along with a white edition of the Motorola Droid RAZR).

But you know how this goes.

A date is rumored. It looks legit. We finally (finally!) think we have found the ultimate upgrade for our aging OG Motorola Droids from 2009. And then: nothing.

Such is the bungled launch history of one Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

Why the big deal?

Three reasons:

1. Nexus is the first Android smartphone to ship with Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS, aka Android 4.0), Google’s next big thing. The new operating system improves the Android user experience, if not dramatically, at least well enough to potentially sway those who would otherwise consider an iPhone.

Motorola Droid RAZR
Motorola Droid RAZR in white: Who buys white phones?!

2. November 2011/December 2011 marks the largest upgrade cycle window in Android’s young history. There are hundreds of thousands of us Android pioneers (I’d like to find out the actual number, if someone has it?) who signed up about twenty-four months ago on Verizon. Droid Does. We capitulated. Most walked out with Motorola Droids, though other models like the HTC Droid Eris sold too. Either way, from the moment I typed in my Google credentials and saw everything perfectly sync–Gmail, Calendar, Contacts–I was smitten. That largely explains why all the big guns, like HTC, Motorola and Samsung, launched a flurry of new handsets. They all want our Android upgrade dollars. Earlier (when it actually seemed like a Nexus phone existed) I wrote about the upgrade dilemma, and discussed the options: HTC Rezound (too chunky, great audio, decent price at only $199) vs. Motorola Droid RAZR (found great price on Amazon for $169, even better than Costco) vs. Samsung Galaxy Nexus (the one to get… if it can be had that is).

3. Apple iPhone 4S. It’s here, and it’s selling. Sure, it’s not an iPhone 5, and it didn’t blow our socks off. Siri is okay, but not a game-changer in my estimation. Still, the fact that Apple has had its brand new smartphone on the market while Verizon/Google/Samsung (our beloved Three Stooges in episode “Nexus Schmexus”)┬ástumble their way to the finish line is surprising. I wonder how many potential customers have, out of frustration waiting for a Nexus launch to happen, gave up and decided to go iOS?

Maybe us US Androids deserve to be following up the rear.

For once, Canada, Europe and Australia all have what we can not. Nexus has already been shipping there for weeks. By the time we get our mittens on the curvy thing, will anyone care, or–more likely–how many days until the next uber-uber must-have Android hits the market? (my guess: late January, early February, the 2012 killer Android phone – with Google Wallet – will land).

Will the Nexus launch tomorrow?

If it does, will it sell as well as the Motorola Droid did two years earlier?

Or, should we just fold up our lawn chairs already, buy a Droid RAZR and call it a day?

For the impatient, may I suggest:

Motorola Droid RAZR – thin, great display, Moto build quality.

HTC Rezound – upgraded audio (if that matters to you), removable battery. Not as good a deal, but at $199 is cheaper than Nexus.

Apple iPhone 4S – Are you mad? (ask Siri)

[Lead photo: The Verge]