Google Nexus S: Virgin Gingerbread

Update: Official site for the Nexus S.


For the last few days I’ve been using the Google Nexus S, manufactured by Samsung, with the new Android 2.3 “Gingerbread” operating system. This is a phone that was designed with direct input from the Google Android team. And like its predecessor, the Nexus One, which was released in January 2010, it has a “clean” install of Android.

Ah, a clean install of Android. But, what’s so special about Gingerbread? According to Android Developers:

  • Simpler UI: Notification bar, menus, and other parts of the UI will sport a black background. This UI change will also let OLED-based Android smartphones to last a bit longer.
  • More Intuitive Text Input: Reshaped, reposiitoned keys. Multitouch key-chording, like on iOS. An example would be pressing Shift+ to capitalize.
  • Simpler Copy & Paste: Like iOS, press-hold to select a word, and then drag the (ugly) boundaries to select more.
  • More Aggressive Power Management: Android will kill “apps that are keeping the device awake for too long or that are consuming CPU while running in the background.”
  • Internet Calling: To users with SIP accounts. What are SIP accounts? I wasn’t even sure what SIP stood for. So I googled and found out. SIP is “Session Initiation Protocol,” which means nothing to me. To me SIP is just another way to call people. You get a SIP number and you can call other folks with SIP numbers using the Internet. Cheap, as long as you have a cheap Internet connection.
  • Near-Field Communications: NFC for short. With a Gingerbread Android phone with NFC wireless hardware, like the Google Nexus S, you could swipe your phone to pay for stuff.
  • Multiple Cameras: I thought this was already supported.

The Google Nexus S is just a rebranded and enhanced Samsung Galaxy S with Gingerbread. It has the same 4-inch 800×480 PenTile Matrix Super AMOLED display. If you read a lot on your smartphone and enjoy crisp text I would recommend the iPhone 4 or even the latest iPod touch. The Nexus S will be available at Best Buy and will work on the T-Mobile GSM network in the US. Expect a December 16 release.