Google has launched the latest version of its Android operating system on a new model of its own smartphone, the Nexus.
The Samsung-built Nexus S features a contoured four-inch touchscreen, NFC technology, and a 1GHz Hummingbird processor, but will likely be more famed for being the first device to sport Android v2.3 - nicknamed Gingerbread by Google.
Google said the OS has been updated with an improved user interface providing more intuitive text entry and multi touch capability, and better power management.
Developers get updated software development kits designed to make it easier to create games and handle multimedia applications using standards including VP8, WebM, AAC and AMR-wideband encoding.
The new SDKs also offer simpler debugging tools, Google stated.
Gingerbread can also handle front-facing cameras, enabling video calling capabilities, and VoIP.
Google’s first attempt at a cellphone, the HTC-made Nexus One, failed to get market traction, exacerbated by the company’s attempts to cut operators out of the retail channel.
Ovum principal analyst Tony Cripps reserved judgment on the phone, noting only its slightly curved contour display and the introduction of NFC made it stand out from other Android devices.
“[O]n the face of it there seems insufficient reasons to pick the Nexus S over its brethren, especially if price is an issue. A lot will depend on how effectively Google’s retail partners for the launch – Best Buy in the US and Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy in the UK – market and position the device relative to other Android phones,” he said.
The Nexus S will hit shelves in the US from December 16 and the UK from December 20.
It will be available free with a £35 ($55) per month contract in the UK, the BBC reported, while US consumers will pay $199with a two-year contract from T-Mobile USA, according to WSJ.com.