updated 06:45 pm EST, Mon November 15, 2010
Google's Schmidt demos Nexus S and Gingerbread NFC
Google CEO Eric Schmidt at the Web 2.0 Summit today showed a working example of the Nexus S. He refused to name Samsung as the manufacturer but mentioned it would run Android 2.3, or Gingerbread; it was also seen running on T-Mobile. He wouldn't mention most new features but confirmed the OS and likely the Nexus S would use near field communications (NFC) to support features like payment or getting information just by swiping the phone near a receiver.
The executive wouldn't be drawn into a definite release date but had Gingerbread and by extension the Nexus S coming within "weeks." Google's implementation of NFC would follow the standard as proprietary standards wouldn't help the industry, Schmidt said.
Most expect the Nexus S to be a version of the Galaxy S which becomes a showcase for Android 2.3's features, which should include FaceTime-style video chat through a front camera.
Google wouldn't be the first phone maker to support NFC, as the Japanese have had it for years through FeliCa while Nokia has been running trials ahead of a 2011 rollout for its smartphones. It would nonetheless preempt rumored Apple plans for an iPhone 5 with NFC in mid-2011. Google hasn't given any definite plans for its uses, but Apple may go beyond what Google could do by incorporating NFC into Macs for preserving login info on other devices as well as integrating it with iTunes.
Schmidt's statements partly contradict earlier remarks, where he insisted there would be no more Nexus One-style devices after the phone purportedly accomplished its mission of spurring on smartphone development. The Nexus S would vary from the original carrier-independent direction by being attached to T-Mobile's network and selling in retail stores instead of being limited to online sales.
Critics have called for a return of the Nexus idea as the customization of Android has left it heavily fragmented, with upgrades often delayed by months or never coming despite hardware support.