Thursday, December 23, 2010

More on the new Google Nexus S smartphone

Google's new Nexus S smartphone will go on sale in Best Buy stores next week for $529 for the unlocked version or for $199 with a two-year contract from T-Mobile USA.

There are many reasons for Google to produce a "pure Google experience" phone to help increase Android's momentum. Mobile app developers need to have early access to a new operating system to make sure their apps will work well on the new phone.

Google's Android operating system allows wireless carriers and handset makers to dictate the pace at which their customers receive Android updates, meaning some app developers on one carrier might not be able to see new releases before customers on another carrier start running the software, and that is something that Google wants to change.

There's also even more reasons for building a phone like the Nexus S. When Google tried to launch its previous Nexus One smartphone almost a year ago, it came with plans to free consumers from two-year contracts, end exclusive deals between wireless carriers and handset makers for new phones, and a few more things in between.

But there were a few issues. Wireless carriers withdrew promised support for the Nexus One, and without broad carrier support Google was forced to do exactly what it didn't want to do: offer a phone effectively locked to a single carrier.

And that's when all the problems unfolded for the Nexus One. Google certainly doesn't want a repeat of this so now it is doing things differently.

The Nexus S is now being promoted based only on its hardware and software merits. It's basically a 'Googlized' version of the Samsung Galaxy S, with the near-field communications chips that Google CEO Eric Schmidt spoke about last month and could one day let you use your phone as a credit card.

Known as Gingerbread, the Android version 2.3 OS will bring a new virtual keyboard and a simpler user interface when it ships with the Nexus S on December 16.

It will be interesting to see just how the new Nexus S is acclaimed by the wireless industry and how well it will sell in Best Buy stores, given the failure Google experienced with the Nexus One back in January 2010.

Google has now chosen to concentrate on its original Android promise of giving wireless carriers and handset makers around the world a free, competitive smartphone operating system to serve as a hedge against Apple's iPhone and RIM's BlackBerries.

Coming back to the Nexus One, it took only a day or two in January for users to discover that it had trouble connecting to 3G networks; not a good thing!

At that time, handset maker THK, wireless operator T-Mobile USA and Google were are all scrambling at trying to locate where the problem was in connecting to 3G networks using Google's Nexus One.

In a public statement posted on a T-Mobile forum about the subject, the company said "HTK, Google and T-Mobile are investigating this issue and hope to have more information for you soon. We understand your concern and appreciate your patience."

Neither THK, T-Mobile or Google were immediately available to various requests for comment.

According to the complaints, THK's Nexus One smartphone fluctuated widely between 3G and EDGE technology and was generally unable to sustain a 3G connection for more than 20 seconds at best.

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