The much-awaited Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, is finally in Verizon Wireless stores and available online for $299.99 with a two-year contract. The smartphone battle can only get more intense, with the LG Nitro HD and the Galaxy Nexus squaring off against each other.

The Galaxy Nexus marks the commencement of the Android 4.0 era. The Ice Cream Sandwich operating system is a combination of two previous incarnations - the smartphone Gingerbread OS and the tablet Honeycomb OS.

The features of Android 4.0 includes widgets in a new tab, a customizable launcher, Gmail with offline search and a two-line preview, a new action bar at the bottom, better voice integration, improved copy-and-paste functions and a new tabbed Web browser that allows up to 16 tabs.

The Galaxy Nexus was also known as the Samsung Google Nexus Prime, the Samsung Google Galaxy Nexus I9250, the Samsung Google Nexus 3, the Samsung Google Nexus 4G and the Samsung Nexus Prime 4G LTE.

It comes with a 4.65-inch high-definition Super AMOLED Contour display, dual-core 1.2GHz Cortex-A9 CPU, TI OMAP 4460 chipset, PowerVR SGX540 GPU, 1GB of RAM, 16 or 32GB of internal memory, NFC, 4G LTE support, a 5 megapixel rear-facing camera with 1080p video capture and 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera for video calls. On the flip side, the phone will not support Google Wallet.

On the other hand, the LG Nitro HD, which runs on Google Inc.'s Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS, has dual-core 1.5 GHz Scorpion processor, 4.5-inch True HD AH-IPS display, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of internal memory with a 16GB microSD card included, an 8 megapixel rear-facing LED flash camera with 1080p video capture and a secondary front-facing camera for video calls.

LG's device, which takes advantage of its new proprietary True HD technology, has a 4.5-inch AH-IPS (Advanced High-Performance In-Plane Switching) display that supports resolutions up to 1280 x 720 pixels. The device's display offers unrivaled color accuracy, brightness, battery efficiency and performance.

According to LG, the Nitro HD's 500 nit display luminance allows clear viewing in direct sunlight and RGB stripe pixels deliver incredibly accurate true-to-life color rendering. The smartphone is considered to be the third 4G LTE smartphone for AT&T customers.

Can the recently released LG Nitro HD outshine the first Ice Cream Sandwich phone? It has been rumored that the Galaxy Nexus has been the most preferred and expected smartphone by the consumers but both phones offer great specifications.

Let's take a look at the specifications of both the phones:

Display: The Nitro HD touts a 4.5-inch True HD AH-IPS (Advanced High-Performance In-Plane Switching) capacitive touch-screen with 1280 x 720 pixels resolution at about 326 ppi pixel density. On the other hand, the Galaxy Nexus sports a 4.65-inch high-definition Super AMOLED Contour display that may give a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels with about 316 ppi pixel density.

Size: The Nitro HD comes with 5.27 x 2.67 x 0.41 inches dimension and weighs 4.5 ounces. On the other hand, the Galaxy Nexus comes in 5.33 x 2.67 x 0.37 inches dimension and weighs 5.1 ounces.

Processor: The Nitro HD features 1.5GHz Scorpion dual-core processor, Adreno 220 GPU, Qualcomm APQ8060 processor with 1GB RAM. On the other hand, the Galaxy Nexus features dual-core 1.2GHz Cortex-A9 CPU, Texas Instruments OMAP 4460 chipset, PowerVR SGX540 GPU with 1GB RAM.

Camera: The Nitro HD sports a rear-facing 8 megapixel LED flash camera with 1080p HD video capture capability, while the Galaxy Nexus sports a 5 megapixel LED flash camera with 1080p video capture. The Nexus has an additional 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera for video calling while Nitro HD has a 1 megapixel camera for video chat.

3G/4G: Both smartphones come with HSDPA 21 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps and supports 4G LTE.

Operating System: The Nitro HD has the Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system with the promise of an upgrade to Google Inc.'s latest smartphone OS, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The Galaxy Nexus, however, comes preloaded with Android 4.0 OS. Android Head of Engineering Mike Claren announced the new OS - Ice Cream Sandwich - as Google's most ambitious release to date.

User Interface: The Nitro HD comes with LG's custom user interface, while the Galaxy Nexus comes with Samsung TouchWiz UI with Google's Ice Cream Sandwich OS.

WLAN/Bluetooth/USB: Both smartphones have Bluetooth 3.0 version with A2DP, and microUSB 2.0 version. The Nitro HD has Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot and Bluetooth HS, while the Galaxy Nexus has Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, DLNA, and Wi-Fi hotspot.

Storage: The Nitro HD has fixed 4GB internal storage with a 16GB microSD card included in the package that can be expanded up to 32GB. However, the Galaxy Nexus has a fixed 16 / 32GB internal storage.

Battery: The Nitro HD comes with a standard Li-ion 1830 mAh battery. On the other hand, the Galaxy Nexus comes with a standard Li-ion 1750 mAh battery that gives more than 8 hours of talk time and 270 hours of standby on 3G networks.

Pricing: The LG Nitro HD is priced at $149.99 with a two-year AT&T contract in selected areas, while the Galaxy Nexus is priced at $299.99 with a two-year Verizon Wireless contract.

Editors' Rating: Both smartphones are equally rated in technology editors' ratings. CNET has a score of 4.5 out of 5 stars for the Galaxy Nexus, while the Nitro HD scored 4. PCMag rates the Nitro HD 4.5 and the Galaxy Nexus managed to score 4 stars.