Ina Fried

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Google Gives Gingerbread for the Holidays

The rumored new Gingerbread-based Nexus phone from Google is rumor no more. In a blog post on Monday, Google announced the Nexus S, a phone co-developed by Samsung and Google.

As it did with the initial Nexus One, the company said the phone is designed “to highlight the latest advancements of the Android platform.” However, the company’s goal appears to have shifted from turning the economics of the cellphone business on its ear to just showing the potential of Android.

“As part of the Nexus brand, Nexus S delivers what we call a ‘pure Google’ experience’: unlocked, unfiltered access to the best Google mobile services and the latest and greatest Android releases and updates,” Google’s Andy Rubin said in the blog.

You can hear much more from Rubin when he speaks at D: Dive Into Mobile tonight. In the meantime, here are the highlights.

Key features include a 4-inch “contour display” designed to fit more easily in the hand, a 1Ghz processor, front and rear cameras and 16GB of internal memory, as well as a Near Field Communications technology that allows the device to read information from tags placed in nearby objects. (If you haven’t heard much about NFC yet, you will soon.)

The device will go on sale Dec. 16 online and at Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile stores in the U.S and at Best Buy Carphone Warehouse in the U.K. The phone can be purchased either unlocked or with a T-Mobile service plan. In the U.S. it will sell for $199 with a T-Mobile service plan and $529 without.

As for Gingerbread (a.k.a. Android 2.3), a software development kit is now available for developers. Gingerbread features support for the aforementioned NFC as well as a new keyboard and text selection tool, improved copy and paste, and gyroscope support. All the nerdy details are on Google’s developer site.

Google put up a pair of videos, reposted below.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik