Google Nexus S Smartphone: Nine Facts You Need to Know's wireless-watcher Al Sacco lists nine things all potential Google Nexus S buyers and smartphone-enthusiasts should know about the latest Android-powered "Nexus" handheld.

Tue, December 07, 2010

CIO — Google yesterday unveiled its latest handheld, the Nexus S. The high-end Android smartphone, made by Samsung in conjunction with Google, offers users a "pure Google experience," according to the company, and it is expected to become available within the coming weeks. What follows are nine key facts all potential Nexus S buyers should know about the new gadget.

Google Nexus S Smartphone with Android Gingerbread
Google Nexus S Smartphone with Android Gingerbread

1) Google Nexus S is First Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) Smartphone

Along with the Nexus S, Google announced the latest version of its mobile OS, Android v2.3, or "Gingerbread." Gingerbread will eventually make its way to additional handhelds, but right now, the Google Nexus S is the first and only device to run Android 2.3.

New features and enhancements within Android Gingerbread include faster overall performance on compatible devices; a sleeker, more fluid UI; a new on-screen keyboard; a new text selection tool for improved copy-and-paste functionality; gyroscope sensor support; and much more.

Download the Android 2.3 user guide for more details on Gingerbread.

2) Nexus S Comes Factory Unlocked...But Only Supports T-Mobile 3G in U.S.

The Google Nexus S offers users "unlocked, unfiltered access to the best Google mobile services and the latest and greatest Android releases and updates," according to Google's VP of Engineering, Andy Rubin.

That means the device comes factory unlocked, so it will work on any compatible GSM network. However, the Nexus S only supports T-Mobile U.S.A. 3G frequencies. So while you could purchase the current version of the Nexus S and use it on AT&T's network in the United States--or elsewhere overseas--you'll only have access to AT&T's subpar 2.5G EDGE network and no 3G.

Furthermore, even though the Nexus S supports HSDPA speeds up to 7.2Mbps and HSUPA to 5.76Mbps, it cannot take full advantage of T-Mobile's HSPDA+ network, which offers faster data-transfer speeds.

3) Google Nexus S is a Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot

In addition to being a standalone mobile Web surfing machine, the Nexus S can serve as a portable Wi-Fi hotspot for up to six separate, Wi-Fi-enabled devices including smartphones, laptops and other gadgets. When connected to the Web using another device, via Google Nexus S, you won't incur any additional Internet-related data charges, according to Google. Bye-bye, Mi-Fi!

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