Looking forward to the Google Nexus S

Google recently announced the Nexus S — the successor to the Nexus One phone. More importantly, it’s an Android phone straight from Google with the latest version of the OS and none of the distractions that the carriers tend to add on. I’m not really a phone person, I don’t use an actual phone very much and my actual phone is a cheap prepaid T-mobile phone I’ve had for 2 years and have no plans of changing. So why am I interested in the Nexus S?

The thing is that enough though I don’t use a phone very much, I do use other devices a lot. I love my iPod touch (which apart from my computer is my primary communications device) and I wish my camera was smaller so that I could carry it around. However, the thing is I want to do more with fewer gadgets. I’m a bit tired of carrying a phone and an iPod Touch and I really wish I had a camera for all those little moments I want share. But I don’t want to carry another specific device around. I’m at the point where I really want just one device that does everything.

A smartphone would be really nice except for tone thing — the phone plan. Like I said I barely use the actual phone functionality. Also I’m at college which means I’m surrounded by WiFi (and will be at graduate school) which means that I don’t need 3G. Spending upwards of $60 a month when I can get about 2 months on a $30 prepaid charge makes no sense at all. An unlocked smartphone would be great, especially if I could just use it with my existing T-mobile plan. Even if I had to move to a new number, Google Voice makes that mostly irrelevant.

The Nexus S looks to be a strong device. It has all the usual features we’ve come to expect from a top-of-the-line smartphone. Along with the usual Android things, it also sports a 5MP backfacing camera which is something I’m looking forward to. Since it’s straight from Google, I can expect to get updates to Android as soon as they’re released without having to deal with a carrier as man-in-the-middle. Like the Nexus One, the Nexus S will probably be the “reference phone” for the next few releases of Android.

One part I’m a bit unsure about is actually getting the Nexus S. It won’t be sold by Google directory, but by Best Buy, which I guess is fine. By only real concern is whether it will work with my current number and SIM or if I need to get another one. Besides that, there is the question of price: according to Best Buy the unlocked version will be a hefty $529. That’s almost 6 months of the basic T-mobile data/voice plan. Of course, I do plan on holding on to the Nexus S for somewhat longer than 6 months, so in the long run paying upfront would be worth it. Still dropping $529 on a phone isn’t something I feel entirely comfortable doing.

The Nexus S is looking to be a great device and a good fit for my current device usage. However, the unlocked price is rather steep and will definitely be something to keep in mind. Luckily it’s not a decision I plan on making for another month and half at least.

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Shrutarshi Basu

Programmer, writer and engineer, currently working out of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

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