By Patrick Avenell (Follow me on Twitter)

Google and Samsung took the stage in Hong Kong today to launch the Galaxy Nexus smartphone and the new Ice Cream Sandwich operating system.

The Galaxy Nexus, which will be released in November, has a 1.2Ghz dual core processor “that really flies”, according to presenter Kevin Packingam.

There are two versions of the smartphone — an LTE model and an HSPA+ model — which will be released depending on the region’s compatibility.

The display is a 4.65-inch Super AMOLED HD (1280×720) touchscreen with a 16:9 aspect ratio and a 100,000:1 contrast ratio. Packingham said this was “the best display in the industry” and that it exceeded many televisions with its performance.

The handset, which mirrors the Galaxy S II form factor, is 4.29mm thin, and it feels “completely natural” in the hand. Unlike the GSII, the Galaxy Nexus has no buttons, with Ice Cream Sandwich now a full touch Andoird operating system.

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Marius Duarte introduced Ice Cream Sandwich, which will be known as Android 4.0.

Key takeaways from this food-based operating system presentation include:

-Vastly improved data usage applications, with users able to monitor bill cycles, look at projections based on previous use, set warnings, cut off usage and view high usage applications.
-A new Roboto typeface.
-Face recognition for unlocking the phone/tablet.
-No buttons, with gestures and on-screen touch icons replacing the four key Android controls.
-For creating folders within home screens, you can drag and drop one app onto another.
-A new keyboard, with improved error correction, an in-line spell check and much better cut/copy/paste functionality.
-New look and improved functionality for Gmail and Google Calendar.
-Improved sharing functionality for images to email and social networking.
-The ability to convert whatever is on the screen into an image for sharing.

The new Galaxy Nexus, which runs Ice Cream Sandwich.

Buttons have been removed from the handset due to ICS' gesture controls.