updated 09:30 am EDT, Mon March 21, 2011
Nexus S 4G official with Sprint Google Voice link
Sprint and Google today confirmed the existence of the Nexus S 4G as well as a special collaboration on Google Voice. The phone still has an unaltered Android 2.3 that promises speedy updates but adds faster WiMAX. Google Voice also now effectively takes over, Google said: users can run their actual Sprint phone number as a Google Voice number to reach multiple phones at once, and any calls or text messages sent from Gmail on the web will show the Sprint number.
Phones like the Nexus S 4G that use Google Voice also use its system instead of Sprint's usual voicemail. The approach keeps audio but offers rough text transcription. Personalized voicemail messages, call recording and call blocking come along with Google Voice itself.
International calls also potentially get much cheaper, since they now pass through Google Voice's VoIP system for most of the trip and should use Google's existing rates.
The Nexus S 4G itself is familiar apart from the 4G and has its signature curved, four-inch Super AMOLED screen, 1GHz Hummingbird chip, 16GB of internal storage, dual cameras, and NFC short-range wireless. As an official phone, its bootloader is unlocked and allows custom firmware without having to bypass encryption locks.
Sprint plans to sell the Nexus S 4G for $200 on a contract but will only commit to a spring launch.
The Google Voice integration is a unique advantage for Sprint and a counter to advantages of direct phone and software integration in the past. Apple was famously the first to get a practical implementation of visual voicemail with a carrier and had to get special help from AT&T to allow on-demand messages. Sprint now has an equivalent with more features.