Updated: Ice Cream Sandwich Melts? Google, Samsung Move Nexus Prime Launch

People that have been gearing up for the launch of Google’s newest Android iteration, Ice Cream Sandwich, and Samsung’s latest signature device for Google (NSDQ: GOOG), the Nexus Prime, may have to wait a little bit longer. The companies, which had been expected to launch the device and new OS next week during the CTIA show, are now postponing the event.

Update: The Next Web is reporting that the event “Samsung Unpacked: Google Edition” has now been rescheduled for October 27, and will take place in London. If correct, that would put it in direct competition with an annual event from one of Samsung’s biggest competitors, Nokia (NYSE: NOK), which is holding Nokia World in London October 26-27. Coincidence or very direct intention? Samsung’s spokesperson, Kim Titus, declined to confirm the date to paidContent. More below.

The news of the cancellation for CTIA was first seen on the UK blog Pocket-Lint. A statement emailed to paidContent from Kim Titus, a spokesperson for Samsung, confirmed the news:

“Samsung and Google have decided to postpone the Samsung Mobile Unpacked event during the CTIA in San Diego, previously scheduled for Oct. 11. Under the current circumstances, both parties have agreed that this is not the appropriate time for the announcement of a new product. We would ask for the understanding of our clients and media for any inconvenience caused. We will announce a new date and venue in due course.”

Ironically, it was only this morning that a video leaked apparently showing the Nexus Prime with Ice Cream Sandwich in action.

It’s unclear what is really behind the delayed launch. Could it be those ongoing patent issues? Market climate? A technical glitch on the device or with the OS?

The wording of the news could give some clue. “Current circumstances” might have to do with the fact that the announcement would have been preceded by a week that has been a tumultuous one for Samsung’s chief competitor and key client, Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), which unveiled its latest iPhone, the 4S, and — in news that goes beyond Apple device fans — saw the passing of its iconic and hugely influential founder, chairman and former CEO, Steve Jobs.

Update: Samsung confirmed in an e-mail to paidContent that the event was canceled out of respect for Jobs. “We believe this is not the right time to announce a new product as the world expresses tribute to Steve Jobs’ passing,” the company said in a statement. Sources familiar with the launch schedule for the product insisted there were no product delays associated with this decision.

While the 4S may have disappointed some by not appearing any different in form, the incremental advances, with an emphasis on lower-costing software rather than hardware upgrades, is being seen by others as a logical and much better step for Apple in the current market and mobile climate. At least one operator, O2 in Germany, has reported very robust preorders.

Samung’s pre-earnings guidance released today, it appears that the legal problems that it has been facing with Apple — it has been prevented from selling its newest Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in two markets so far, Germany and Australia — have yet to impact the bottom line.

Samsung noted that it expects to report operating profit for Q3 of around 4.2 trillion Won ($3.6 billion), on sales of 41 trillion Won ($34.8 billion). Reuters points out that this would be a decline on the same quarter last year but still exceeds expectations from analysts it polled, which were expecting profits of 3.4 trillion Won.

Smartphones are an increasingly strong driver for revenues at Samsung, which could end up overtaking Apple as the single-largest smartphone vendor in terms of unit sales (not value) in Q3. In the last quarter, Reuters (NYSE: TRI) notes, Apple sold about 1 million more than Samsung. Smartphones made up 26 percent of Samsung’s revenue in the last quarter and there is expectation that proportion will grow, with or without the launch of one extra device in the form of the Nexus Prime.