Samsung finally launched its Galaxy S II smartphone in the U.S. Wednesday, but the company will try to take a bigger bite out of Apple with its highly-anticipated smartphone, the Nexus Prime. The Prime, which has been rumored for months but is still unconfirmed, is widely believed to be unveiled at Samsung Mobile's Unpacked 2011 event on Tuesday in San Diego.

Many are already calling the Nexus Prime the hottest Android phone of the year.

The phone is said to feature a 4.6-inch, 720p HD-quality Super AMOLED screen, an 8 megapixel camera, 1 GB of RAM, Near Field Communication (NFC) capabilities, 4G. Most promising,  the Nexus Prime will be the first device to run Google's newest version of Android, dubbed Ice Cream Sandwich.

Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest Google dessert, will feature easier multitasking, new menu interface and a Google-blue theme. In late September, an anonymous man discovered Ice Cream Sandwich on his Samsung Nexus S phone, which he ordered over eBay. He recorded a two-minute video of the interface before it was remotely locked and wiped, but the new Ice Cream Sandwich OS looks to be as sweet as advertised.

Samsung also leaked the first photos of the Nexus Prime Tuesday, just hours before Apple's iPhone announcement in Cupertino, Calif. Given the animosity between the two companies lately, this leak is likely not a coincidence. The photos themselves don't show much, although they do reveal the phone's shiny high-resoultion screen and some of its specs.  

The Nexus line of phones, which are co-developed by Samsung and Google, are unique in that they come without any carrier or OEM modifications. The Nexus phones are also typically the first devices to receive new Android updates. Nexus Prime's previous model, the Nexus S, was the first smartphone to run Android's Gingerbread OS and also the first Android device to support NFC.

After the Nexus Prime, rumored to be released shortly after the Unpacked 2011 event, Samsung will also attack Apple's new iPhone 4S with its Galaxy S II smartphone.

Samsung's Galaxy S II, which was globally released in April but just arrived in the U.S., features a thin and light body, a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED display, a powerful dual-core Samsung Exynos processor, and an 8-megapixel camera. The Galaxy S II trumps the iPhone 4S in its data speed, screen size, and NFC capabilities, but Nexus Prime, thanks to Ice Cream Sandwich, could really put a dent in iPhone's sales.

While Apple disappointed many by withholding the iPhone 5, the company delivered plenty of new and exciting features in the iPhone 4S. Among those features is a much-improved camera, a faster dual-core A5 processor, alternating antennae for better call reception, CDMA and GSM support, new apps, and a personal assistant called Siri.

When it's all said and done, all these phones may be introduced this month. This was likely Samsung's strategy all along: If one phone can't beat the iPhone, maybe two can. Between the similar features of the Galaxy S II and the novelty of the Nexus Prime, Apple's singular offering couldn't look lonelier.

Apple lowered the prices of its other offerings Tuesday--the iPhone 4 is now $99, and the iPhone 3GS is now free--but in the world of what have you done for me lately, Samsung and Google have Apple in a corner.  

Samsung sells its Galaxy S II for $199, which is the same price as the cheapest iPhone 4S. There is no confirmed price point for the Nexus Prime.

Samsung has already sold around 10 million Galaxy S II smartphones since their April launch. Apple's iPhone 4 is the best-selling iPhone thus far, and accounts for over half of the total amount of iPhones ever sold in its history.

Update:Samsung Galaxy Nexus Prime Details, Specs Leaked: Report