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Galaxy Nexus just hours from launch

With just a few hours before the big reveal of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus in Hong Kong, CNET dives into the latest round of rumors.

NTT DOCOMO announces the mid-November release of the Galaxy Nexus.

After much anticipation, some online hype, and a brief delay, later today we'll finally find out just what Samsung and Google have in store for the Android community.

Now that we're in the home stretch, let's take a look at what we expect to see at the Galaxy Nexus unveiling, which takes place at 7:00 p.m. PT tonight (Wednesday morning in Hong Kong).

Gone are the Nexus Prime and Droid Prime names, paving the way for the more official sounding Galaxy Nexus. Borrowing from both Google's handset branding and Samsung's popular Galaxy family, the handset could be the benchmark device for Android developers. Although it's possible that a variation of the phone will come out in short order, we don't imagine that Google and Samsung will unveil more than one handset tonight.

All indications are that Ice Cream Sandwich will be tied to the release number of 4.0, which is something we've expected for a few months. Whereas tonight's event will center around the latest smartphone, it's worth remembering that Android 4.0 is designed to power tablets as well. Perhaps that's another announcement for another day?

NTT DoCoMo, perhaps a bit eager to build anticipation, tweeted that it expects to offer the Galaxy Nexus in mid-November. Google's Eric Schmidt advised a few weeks back that Ice Cream Sandwich (and the Galaxy Nexus) would arrive in October or November, so I anticipate that U.S. consumers should see the phone around the same time.

A lengthy, and rather official, list of hardware details surfaced today, confirming many of the rumors that popped up along the way.

Assuming that the details are correct, the Galaxy Nexus will be powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4460 processor, 1GB RAM, and feature a 4.65-inch Super AMOLED HD 720p display. When you compare it to the hardware on last year's Nexus S, you get a sense for just how fast the Android landscape evolves. Additional specifications look to include 32GB internal storage, a 5-megapixel camera (1080p HD video), and a 1,750 mAh battery.

Looking back at recently leaked screenshots, apps, widgets, and videos, it's obvious that Ice Cream Sandwich is not just the next release. Google has taken great pains to start fresh, incorporating both handset and tablet framework into one singular platform.

If Samsung and Google were smart, they would a page from Apple and focus more on improving the user interface and features, and less on changing the hardware. While the Galaxy Nexus specs might have Android fanboys in a whirlwind, the average consumer won't be able to identify the details.

If there's anything Apple teaches us, it's that the typical customer just wants to see what it can do for them. Here's to finding out in a few short hours.

We'll be bringing you all the news tonight as it's covered by our friends from CNET Asia.