Summary:

It has been almost two months since Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and Samsung executives gleefully revealed the Galaxy Nexus, the best Android smartph…

Samsung Galaxy Nexus

It has been almost two months since Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and Samsung executives gleefully revealed the Galaxy Nexus, the best Android smartphone released to date, at an event in Hong Kong. And after countless rumors, a notable bug, a spat over mobile payments, the device will arrive in the U.S. on Verizon’s network Thursday just barely in time for procrastinating holiday shoppers.

It’s not at all clear why it took so long for Google, Samsung, and Verizon to officially release the phone, but Verizon announced via Twitter Wednesday afternoon that it planned to sell the phone starting tomorrow at its retail outlets. We already know that the phone will cost $299, and we already know that a slew of professional phone reviewers have anointed it with their seal of approval based on the Android 4.0 software and some sleek hardware design decisions.

Mobile bloggers have been obsessing over the U.S. release date since the phone went on sale in the U.K. in mid-November, with a new rumor surfacing every few days that the phone would be released within the next few days. Two possible reasons for the delay? A volume bug that caused Google to issue a software fix, and a spat with Verizon over whether or not the NFC chip needed for the Google Wallet mobile-payments system met Verizon’s security expectations that is really more about the competition between Google Wallet and Isis, a mobile payments consortium backed by Verizon.

Corrected 12/15: The headline and body of this story originally stated that the phone would launch on Friday, when it fact it is actually launching today, on Thursday.

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