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Google's second handset gets mixed reviews

Posted: 09 Dec 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:smart phone? Android? NFC? sensors?

Samsung's Nexus S has been revealed as Google's second effort at an integrated smart phone based on the next release of Android. The phone and software support NFC, more sensors and larger screens. However, while it has received praise from some industry members, it has also received criticism for being an incremental upgrade.

"This is a very significant update to Android because it branches the OS out into new territory" such as tablets, said a BetaNews report.

The handset "is so similar to the [Samsung] Galaxy S line, that I am surprised Google chose it to be the next marquee handset with the latest version of Android," said a reviewer from InformationWeek.

"All in all, the Nexus S is very similar in design and IC selection to the Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant which makes sense given the Galaxy S was a huge hit for Samsung," said Allan Yogasingam, a technical marketing manager who does handset teardowns.

"I can see this disappointing mobile purists who were probably expecting something new and bold, perhaps using a higher-res AMOLED or Samsung's upcoming dual-core Orion processor," said Yogasingam. "But this phone's key attraction will be the use of the Gingerbread, and Android fandroids have been chomping at the bit to get their hands on it," he said.

The Nexus S uses Gingerbread, version 2.3 of Android, which will be released as open source code "in coming weeks," said Andy Rubin, VP of engineering, Google, in a Web post announcing the handset and software. A software developer kit for Gingerbread is available online.

NXP said it is providing open source code for NFC as part of Android 2.3 and presumably got the NFC design win in the Nexus S. Eric Schmidt, CEO, Google, showed an early version of the Nexus S with the NFC support at the 2010 Web 2.0 event.

The CEO of Research in Motion also said that future Blackberry phones will support NFC. Ultimately NFC is expected to be one approach for making mobile payments, but initially uses will include a variety of short data exchanges.

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