Google Nexus S and Android 2.3 (GingerBread) Unveiled

After much speculation, Google and Samsung finally lifted the lid on the Nexus S, the successor of Nexus One. It will be available for sale (unlocked) in the US on the 16th of December (Best Buy – 529 USD)  and the UK on the 20th of December (Carphone Warehouse – 549.95 GBP)

Samsung / Google Nexus One

Samsung/Google Nexus S runs Android 2.3 (gingerbread) on a processor based on cortex A8 (Hummingbird) clocked at 1 GHz, with 512 MB RAM, 16 GB internal storage.

The full specs are available on Google Nexus S page.

One interesting new feature is Near Field Communications (NFC) that will allow the device to read RFIDs (e.g. for Interactive Advertising) and behave like a contact less card. So the phone might be used to make payments in the future and replace your credit/debit card. It could also be used as a contactless stored value smart card  similar to the Octopus card in Hong Kong and EZ-Link card in Singapore.

At the same time, Google also released Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) SDK.

Here’s a summary of the new user features for this release:

  • UI refinements for simplicity and speed
  • Faster, more intuitive text input
  • One-touch word selection and copy/paste
  • Improved power management
  • Better Control over applications
  • New ways of communicating, organizing with Internet calling, Near-field communications, Downloads management and Back/Front Camera handling

Here’s a summary of the improvements for developers:

  • Enhancements for gaming
    • Performance:  Concurrent garbage collector, Faster event distribution and Updated video drivers (OpenGL ES)
    • Native input and sensor events
    • Gyroscope and other new sensors, for improved 3D motion processing
    • Open API for native audio (Khronos OpenSL ES)
    • Native graphics management (Khronos EGL library)
    • Native access to Activity life-cycle, window management
    • Native access to assets, storage
    • Robust native development environment
  • New forms of communication
    • Internet telephony (SIP)
    • Near Field Communications (NFC)
  • Rich multimedia
    • Mixable audio effects
    • Support for new media formats (VP8, WebM, ACC, AMR..)
    • Access to multiple cameras

Android 2.3 has also been upgraded to support Linux Kernel 2.6.35, SIP & NFC stacks and an updated BlueZ stack. The Dalvik runtime has also been improved (better locales support (i18n), gzip http compression, optimizations..) and the following upstream projects have been updated: OpenSSL 1.0.0a, BouncyCastle 1.45, ICU 4.4 and zlib 1.2.5.

You can check the full details in Android 2.3 Highlights.

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