The highly anticipated Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the first Ice Cream Sandwich-powered smartphone, is expected to hit stores Dec. 15.

Google Inc. and Samsung unveiled Galaxy Nexus at an event in Hong Kong Oct. 18. The new smartphone will mark the beginning of the Android 4.0 era and runs only on the Verizon network.

Android 4.0, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich, is a combination of Gingerbread and Honeycomb in one unit. The newest features arriving 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.

However, Verizon Wireless will not include Google Inc's payments app Google Wallet on the new smartphone. Verizon denied on its Web site that it was blocking the application, but said, We are continuing our commercial discussions with Google on this issue.

Galaxy Nexus has been released in the UK, Japan and Canada while customers in the United States have been eagerly awaiting its release. Initial reviews of the UK version of the phone have been positive.

Meanwhile, 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, like the 1GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU, an Apple A5 chipset and an 8-megapixel camera.

Seeing as both are the most advanced phones from Apple and Google, it's interesting to see how they stack up against each other.

The Galaxy Nexus has a contoured glass Super AMOLED display and uses a larger display area - 4.65 inches. The resolution has also been increased to 1280x720, giving the device a pixel density of 316ppi while iPhone 4Shas 3.5-inch TFT Retina multi-touch display that may give a resolution of 960 x 640 pixels at 326 ppi density.

Galaxy Nexus has 135.5 x 67.94 x 8.94 mm dimension and weighs 135 grams while iPhone 4S comes with 115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3 mm and weighs 140 grams.

iPhone 4S, which comes in an A5 chipset, is powered by 1GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU. On the other hand, Galaxy Nexus will feature 1.2GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 CPU, TI OMAP 4460 chipset with 1GB RAM.

Nexus has a 5 megapixel camera, which is accompanied with an LED flash and supports 1080p HD video recording at 24 frames-per-second. iPhone 4S has an 8-megapixel camera capable of capturing 1080p video footage.

Galaxy Nexus will have Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot and Bluetooth 3.0 version with A2DP with microUSB 2.0 version while iPhone 4S has Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Wi-Fi hotspot and has advanced Bluetooth version 4.0 with A2DP along with USB version 2.0.

Galaxy Nexus will come with a standard 1750 mAh battery while iPhone 4S has a Li-Po 1420 mAh battery with 8 hours of talk time on 3G networks, up to 14 hours on 2G networks (GSM) and a standby time of 200 hours.

Galaxy Nexus will have a fixed 16/32 GB internal storage while iPhone 4S has fixed 16/32/64 GB internal storage.

Under a two year contract, Galaxy Nexus will be available for $300 on Verizon Wireless while, with a two-year contract, iPhone 4S costs $199 for the 16GB model, $299 for the 32GB model and $399 for the 64GB model.