Google Debuts First ‘Gingerbread’ Phone, the Nexus S

Dec 15, 2010 — Allan Pulga

On Dec. 6, Google launched its new Android smartphone, the Nexus S, which runs on the latest version of the Android platform, called Gingerbread. The Gingerbread SDK/NDK tools were also made available to developers on Dec. 6.

Here’s the intro, from the official Google Blog (Dec. 6):

“Nexus S is the lead device for the Gingerbread/Android 2.3 release; it’s the first Android device to ship with the new version of the Android platform. We co-developed this product with Samsung – ensuring tight integration of hardware and software to highlight the latest advancements of the Android platform. As part of the Nexus brand, Nexus S delivers what we call a ‘pure Google’ experience: unlocked, unfiltered access to the best Google mobile services and the latest and greatest Android releases and updates.”

Gingerbread is being heralded as being better for game development, which points to recent rumors of Sony Ericsson manufacturing a new Android phone, according to Chris Ziegler of Engadget.com (Dec. 6). “Also on deck is tightly-integrated VoIP support, video calling support via a front camera, better cut-and-paste, NFC integration, gyroscope support for more accurate orientation data, an improved download manager, a redesigned keyboard with multitouch support, and an integrated task manager.”

While Gingerbread may be a hit with developers, not all reviewers were overjoyed with the new phone. The following day, on Dec. 7, Scott Webster of CNET News listed “Six things not to love about the Nexus S”:

  1. No microSD expansion: “While most people won’t exceed the 16GB data storage capacity of the phone, the Nexus S doesn’t allow for additional customer choice. The capability to add storage is one of the features we’ve consistently seen on every Android phone since the G1. Hopefully (Samsung) isn’t copying Apple’s move of not adding external memory to the iPhone.”
  2. No LED notifications: “Many Android users, myself included, rely on the LED indicator to notify us of missed calls, new e-mails and texts. As silly as it sounds it feels almost tedious to power on the phone every once in a while to see if I have a new message.”
  3. 5-megapixel camera: “While today’s Galaxy S phones offer excellent 5-megapixel cameras, I would have liked to have seen an 8-megapixel camera in the Nexus S. Even last year’s Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 has an 8.1-megapixel camera.”
  4. No HDMI output/DLNA: “Another hardware feature that has become popular over the course of 2010 is the ability to run HD videos out to a television or supported device. HTC has been integrating HDMI output into its phones; Motorola uses DLNA.”
  5. Single-core processor: “Ask any Android enthusiast what the buzzword for 2011 will be and you’ll hear dual-core processor.”
  6. No 4G/HSPA+ support: “T-Mobile and its competitors are in a tight race to build out their next-generation data networks, but the Nexus S can’t join that party. As we've learned by the slew of press releases and the ad campaign, T-Mobile's recent G2 and myTouch 4G are capable of working on the HSPA+ network, so we don't understand why such a highly anticipated device doesn't have that ability as well. And like the Nexus One, the Nexus S is optimized only for T-Mobile's 3G network even though it's sold unlocked. That means that if you want to use it on AT&T, you'll have to be satisfied with 2G connection speeds.”

Best Buy to sell Nexus S on Dec. 16

“Best Buy announced that it won’t be taking preorders or reservations for the Nexus S,” wrote Jared Newman of PC World (Dec. 14). “Instead, Best Buy will sell the Nexus S on a first-come, first-serve basis starting at 8 a.m. local time on Dec. 16.”

The Nexus S will be sold for $199 with a two-year T-Mobile contract, $250 with add-a-line activation and $529 with no contract. Best Buy will limit sales to two Nexus S phones per customer.

Topics: Wireless Trends, Mobile Industry

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