HTC Magic

Why the Nexus S matters

December 15, 2010: 1:18 PM ET

The hardware has only minor upgrades from phones released six months ago. The key is the untouched software.

Nexus S from Google

There are two major hardware advancements in the new Samsung Nexus S Google Phone.  One is the Near Field Communication chip inside, which, at the moment, allows you to scan tags that are around town to get more information about the venue.  My local UPS store has one and I scanned the tag there.  I was told the same information that I would have got had I used GPS and picked out my location from Maps.

NFC will be a big deal when people can use phones as credit cards and EZ Passes.  At the moment, it is nearly useless except as a neat trick.

Speaking of neat, the other improvement to the Nexus S over Galaxy S phones is the slightly curved glass front panel, called the "Contour Display."  It feels a bit better when making calls and it is quite nice to show off (and might prevent breakage from some falls) but, overall, it doesn't affect much.  But really, these two things aren't why you would purchase a Nexus S.

So why not just get a very similar T-Mobile Vibrant that was released this summer?

The Nexus S is about defining the pure Google experience and keeping the carriers and manufacturers honest... More

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