Galaxy Nexus arrives on Verizon: $299 with contract

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus, a flagship phone to showcase Google Android 4.0(s goog), has finally arrived for Verizon’s LTE network. The large handset comes with a hefty $299 price tag with contract; $649 without. Although the phone was first introduced by Samsung in October, Verizon(s vz)(s vod) customers have been in a holding pattern for the new Nexus until Thursday, Dec. 15.

As a Nexus phone, the latest Galaxy should be a “pure” Google Android device. That means little, if any, carrier software will be pre-installed. Nexus phones typically get the latest Android updates directly from Google; often as soon as they become available. And its usually a simple matter to unlock a Nexus phone to allow for custom software installations, although I’m not yet sure if this will be the case on Verizon’s version of the Galaxy Nexus.

A GSM / HSPA+ version of the Nexus has been available overseas for several weeks and I purchased an unlocked unit from the U.K. several weeks ago for not much more than Verizon’s no-contract price. It is what I’d call a pure Android device as I’ve been able to easily root it and unlock the bootloader, which is software that prevents some customizing. This allowed me to install and use Google Wallet with the NFC chip inside the Galaxy Nexus; something Verizon’s version won’t do for some time.

I’ve been sharing my thoughts on the Galaxy Nexus these past few weeks, but will have a full review forthcoming. Overall, it’s an outstanding blend of hardware and software between the 1280×720 display, dual-core processor and the much improved user experience found in Android 4.0. I’m sure many Verizon customers will agree, now that they can get their hands on one.