Nexus S: Features and Gingerbread – Hands on Preview

They all said the beast had had it. The rumors grew of the Nexus One successor and left the fan boys thinking what new features it might have. Then came in the announcement of the launch and that the rumor was true. That is correct. It was the Nexus S.

nexus sNexus S is the latest android device developed with collaboration of Google and Samsung with the introduction of the latest android OS version 2.3, named Gingerbread. There is a lot of fragmentation present in the current android devices available in the market with loads of customizations from the device vendors, both in hardware and software. Nexus S seems to focus on getting the plain vanilla Gingerbread flavor to the market hence reducing the fragmentation. This will definitely target android developers looking to get all the functionality they need for a hassle free development experience.

There are numerous new features at the operating system level with Gingerbread with a brand new UI interface with cleaner more corporate looking icons system wide. The new OS brings system wide copy paste functionality, enhanced developer tools for multimedia APIs, and native support for SIP VOIP telephony. The Gingerbread is the result of evolutionary effort of continuous updates to the platform by Google and that has resulted in a great OS for smart devices which is fast and full of functionality.

Something got the people wondering was what the “S” stands for. We believe that since this device is a joint venture between Google and Samsung, “S” shows the symbol of this device being the superman of the android device. Well being an owner of Samsung Galaxy S which has an “S” of course and watching the specifications of Nexus S I was not all that thrilled. The device hosts the same 1GHZ Hummingbird processor with 512MB ram but an impressive 16GB of internal space. From the looks of it, the device belongs to the family of the Samsung Galaxy.

Here is the official wiki link for Nexus S:

The Design

The Nexus S is overall very similar to the existing Galaxy line up by Samsung and quite frankly has the similar feel in the hand. The design constitutes of same plastic effect which feels light in the hand. I believe its a positive experience as the device hosts a 4 inch Display.

The display of the Nexus S stands out. Its sharp, vibrant, curvy, (contour branding being used) and delivers a great rival to that famous Retina Display by Apple for iPhone 4. The device has a 5 mega pixel back camera which shoots reasonable good shots for a smartphone and a VGA resolution front camera.

The device also boasts an NFC ship interface which allows wireless communication between devices in 10 cm range which is more of a proximity based card reader and we believe it will allow the device to be used for e-commerce based transactions. There is a lot of unknown on how Google is going to design its services around it, but definitely something to look for in the near future.

The first hands on experience with the device was amazing with the speed and effective interaction it provides the end user. Overall not a huge jump from the FROYO/ Samsung Galaxy S fragment but something positive for the future of the platform. For any one who has been holding of to buy a powerful android based smartphone like Galaxy S or Droid X should look consider buying it.


Something to watch for next is how Gingerbread with all its new support for high resolution devices will result in new devices and tablets to come up with innovation and high definition content. Also, with the introduction of the Tegra 2 based devices starting to show up, the competition is growing to be healthy with some nice options for consumers to choose from to power their smart business/gaming needs.

Raheel Zubairi

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