Google Get’s Official With the Nexus S, Android 2.3, Curved Display, and NFC Debut

Posted on 06 December 2010, Last updated on 06 December 2010 by

nexus sGoogle’s second “Nexus” phone has been pretty much fully revealed over the last few weeks, but has finally been made official today.

While Google’s first Nexus phone (the Nexus One) was made in partnership with HTC, the second is a collaboration between Google and Samsung, resulting in the aptly named Nexus S (though, Nexus Two would have made sense to me…).

The unique part about the Nexus devices is that they receive Android updates as soon as they are released from Google. Other phones generally have to wait for their carriers or OEMs to push core updates down the line (which can either take a long time, or perhaps never happen), unless the user is willing to hack the latest builds on the phone themselves.

Aesthetically, the Nexus S doesn’t differentiate itself that much from recent Samsung Galaxy S devices, but inside it’s packing some unique features.

contourThe Nexus S will be the first phone with the latest version of Android (2.3, aka Gingerbread). It also has a unique “contour” display which Google is claiming is the first of it’s kind to be included on a smartphone. Additionally, the Nexus S comes included with NFC (near-field communication) hardware, which will allow the phone to communicate with nearby object (think: paying your subway fare with your phone, or being taken to a website by waving your phone over a movie poster). Here is Google talking briefly about NFC on the Nexus S:

Aside from these interesting features, the Nexus S has most of the specs you’d expect from a top tier phone:

  • 4” AMOLED screen (480×800) with oleophobic coating (fingerprint reduction)
  • 1GHz “Hummingbird” Cortex A8 CPU
  • 512MB of RAM
  • 16GB flash memory
  • 5MP rear camera with flash, VGA front-facing camera (640×480)
  • WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR, GPS
  • Accelerometer, light sensor, magnometer (compass), proximity sensor, 3-axis gyroscope

I say “most” of the specs because while the 5MP camera is high resolution enough to enable HD recording (1280×720 or 1920×1080), official information says that the phone is only capable of capturing video up to 720×480 (DVD resolution). This is an odd omission when most modern phones (including those of Samsung’s Galaxy S line) are capable of recording at least 720p HD video.


Back when they released the Nexus One and offered it for sale directly through their site, Google wanted to “change the way people shop for phones”. Since then, they’ve closed their online store and will now be making the Nexus S available through Best Buy on December 16th in the US, and through Carphone Warhouse and Best Buy on December 20th in the UK. The device will be sold unlocked for use on any GSM carrier for $529, or customers can sign up for a two year T-Mobile contract through Best Buy and receive the phone for $199.

3 Comments For This Post

  1. says:

    The whole “change how people shop phones” seems to have a very US angle.

    Just put it online, with credit card accepted, for anyone, anywhere. That should seriously change how things are done and really spread raw google android everywhere at the same time. But then that may offend the big members of the OHA…

  2. CaTiC says:

    My first reaction was one of slight disappointment as I expected the 2nd generation of the Nexus to have a dual core, specially considering that Samsung has engineering sample quantities of its A9-based processor (or did I misread a recent post?)

    The specs let me suspect the guts of this phone are the same as those of Galaxy S phones, with the addition of NFC. The video recording format is very odd considering that the camera has the same specs as the Galaxy S and that the 4×3 format is on its way out. But if the resulting video quality is better, then I’m all for it.

    The screen’s slight curve will keep scratches on the edge of the glass when the phone slides on rough surfaces; and we can definitely conclude from simple geometry that glare areas will be smaller. The slight lip at the back bottom will probably make the phone more comfortable to hold in portrait mode… The back looks less glossy than the Vibrant, making it less of a smudge magnet.

    Overall, this phone looks great and has usability improvement that I like. Can’t wait to read reviews!

  3. Ben says:

    I’m also a bit disappointed at the relative lack of improvement over the Nexus One. All that’s really been added is NFC, a front facing cam, and perhaps a slightly better display. The specs are nearly identical. While the Nexus One was the flagship phone of the day, the Nexus S feels more like a cookie-cutter high-end phone (not counting NFC) and even lacks HD recording.

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