ADOTAS – A while back a friend let me play with her Nexus One, the Google-branded smartphone introduced to plentiful critical acclaim but a dearth of consumer interest. It seemed like such a shame it was shortly discontinued and Google’s online phone store shuttered because the phone was intuitive, quick (via a “pure” install of Android) and highly functional.
While many thought that signaled the end of Google’s hardware adventures, whispers about a new Nexus began running the tech media a few months ago. The second go-round with mobile OS Android proved to be a winner, so maybe the new Nexus S with the updated Gingerbread version of Android (v. 2.3) will grab consumers hearts.
Instead of HTC, the hardware is manufactured by Samsung, which has received mainly raves for its Galaxy series of Android-powered smartphones. The specs are certainly nothing to sneeze at: a 1GHz Hummingbird processor, front and rear facing cameras and 16 GB of internal memory.
In addition, the phone features near field communication (NFC) — short-range wireless technology that can be embedded in various physical media — hardware, for which Google integrated NXP Semiconductors’ NFC controller. Enabling NFC in the new Gingerbread version of Android, NXP supplied its complete open source software stack.
Gingerbread also boasts an improved user interface, a new keyboard and text selection tool, VoIP calling, better copy/paste functionality and gyroscope sensor support. A Gingerbread SDK is already available and Google announced it would be open-sourcing the update in a matter of weeks.
As of Dec. 16, the Nexus S can be bought unlocked or with a T-Mobile plan from your local Best Buy. Now word whether it will be picked up by other carriers — something that many saw as the death knell of Nexus One.