The highly anticipated Samsung Galaxy Nexus has been released in the UK, Japan and Canada while customers in the United States have been eagerly awaiting its release.

The latest Google Android phone will runs only on the Verizon network and is rumored to be hitting stores in the U.S. Dec. 15.

Google Inc. and Samsung unveiled Galaxy Nexus at an event in Hong Kong Oct. 18. Initial reviews of the UK version of the phone have been positive.

The newest smartphone will mark the beginning of the Android 4.0 era, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich, which is a combination of Gingerbread and Honeycomb in one unit.

Android head of engineering Mike Claren has announced that the new OS is Google's most ambitious release to date. The newest features that have arrived with Android 4.0 include widgets in a new tab, a customizable launcher, Gmail with offline search with a two-line preview and new action bar at the bottom, better voice integration, improved copy and paste and a new tabbed Web browser that allows up to 16 tabs.

The Galaxy Nexus -- measuring 135.5 by 67.94 by 8.94 mm, and weighing 135 grams -- is also known as Samsung Google Nexus Prime, Samsung Google Galaxy Nexus I9250, Samsung Google Nexus 3, and Samsung Google Nexus 4G.

The Galaxy Nexus is equipped with a dual-core 1.2GHz Cortex-A9 CPU, TI OMAP 4460 chipset, 4.65-inch high-definition Super AMOLED HD curved display with 720x1280 pixel resolution at 316 ppi pixel density, NFC support, 5-megapixel rear-facing camera with 1080p video capture, and 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera for video calls.

The smartphone has an oleophobic surface, a multitouch input method, an accelerometer sensor for UI autorotate, touch-sensitive controls, a proximity sensor for auto turn-off, and a three-axis gyro sensor.

However, the latest Google Android phone seems to have a number of competitors, all of whom may give the company a run for its money.

Let's take a look at some of these.

iPhone 4S: Apple unveiled iPhone 4S Oct. 4 instead of the eagerly-anticipated iPhone 5. iPhone 4S missed some prominent specs like edge-to-edge design, a larger display, 4G LTE and Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. However, it featured some important upgrades that were rumored to be a part of the imaginary iPhone 5.

The features of the Apple smartphone include a 1GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU, Apple A5 chipset, and 8-megapixel camera. It also has a 3.5-inch TFT Retina multitouch display, and is loaded with iOS 5.

It also comes with alternating antennae for better call reception, CDMA and GSM support, a personal assistant called Siri, iCloud, and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology. The phone has a Li-Po 1,420 mAh battery with 8 hours of talk time on 3G networks and as many as 14 hours on 2G networks (GSM).

Samsung Galaxy S2 Skyrocket: The Samsung Galaxy S2 LTE, dubbed the Skyrocket, touts a 4.5-inch Super AMOLED Plus display that may give a resolution of 800 by 480 pixels with about 207 ppi pixel density. It measures 129.8 by 68.8 by 9.5 mm, and weighs 130.5 grams.

Running on the Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread OS, the Skyrocket comes with a 1.5 GHz Scorpion dual-core processor, Adreno 220 GPU, and Qualcomm APQ8060 Snapdragon chipset with 1 GB RAM.

It also comes with an 8-megapixel autofocus LED flash rear-facing camera with 1080p video capture and a 2-megapixel front-facing secondary camera for video chat.

The smartphone, with 16GB of internal storage that is expandable up to 32GB via a microSD card, has a Gorilla Glass display, Samsung TouchWiz UI 4.0 version, multitouch input method, accelerometer sensor for UI autorotate, touch-sensitive controls, proximity sensor for auto turn-off. and gyroscope sensor.

Motorola Droid Bionic: Motorola released its Droid Bionic smartphone on Verizon's networks Sept. 8. The device runs on the Android Gingerbread 2.3.4 OS and is powered by dual-core 1 GHz processors, 1 GB of RAM and a stunning 4.3-inch qHD display with a resolution of 960x540-pixels.

The Droid Bionic sports an 8-megapixel auto-focus camera with flash and 1080p HD video capture, as well as a front-facing camera for video chat over 4G LTE, 3G or Wi-Fi. The phone has 16GB of internal storage and a pre-installed 16GB MicroSD card, which can be expanded to 32GB. Verizon offers the Droid Bionic at $299 with 2-year contract.

HTC Vivid: AT&T released the long-awaited 4G LTE smartphone HTC Vivid on its network Nov. 6.

The Vivid, running on the Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread operating system, features a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor and 4.5-inch qHD display with 960 by 540 pixels of resolution and about 245 ppi pixel density.

It is officially known that the phone would be upgraded to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich after the holiday season.

The HTC Vivid is one of the first smartphones able to use both LTE and HSPA+ 4G speeds, which allow owners of the smartphone reliable connections via both in areas where applicable.

Measuring 135.5 by 67.9 by 8.9 mm, and weighing 135 grams, the HTC Vivid features an 8-megapixel dual-LED flash camera with 1080p video capture and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing secondary camera for video chat.

The smartphone, which comes with 16GB of internal storage and expandable up to 32GB with a microSD card, has multitouch input method, accelerometer sensor for UI auto-rotate, proximity sensor for auto turn-off, HTC Sense UI, and touch-sensitive controls.