Nexus S, Android 'Gingerbread' OS Unveiled By Google (PICTURES)

PHOTOS: Google Unveils New Phone, Latest Version Of Android

*Scroll down for photos.*

Google has taken the wraps off the Nexus S smartphone, a successor to the failed Nexus One.

Co-developed by Samsung, the Nexus S is the first the device to run the latest Android operating system, version 2.3 (aka Gingerbread), billed as "the fastest version of Android yet."

Gingerbread features a refined user interface, improved keyboard layout and keyboard functions, support for front and rear-facing cameras, VOIP/SIP support and near-field communications (NFC) support. And for improved gaming, Gingerbread provides support for gyroscope and other sensors.

The Nexus S smartphone sports a 4-inch AMOLED contoured touchscreen and a curvy, ergonomic form factor. Build around a 1GHz Hummingbird processor, the Nexus S boasts a whopping 16GB of storage space and also features a 0.3-megapixel (VGA) front-facing camera and a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera.

TechCrunch's early review of the Nexus S praises the device and rates it among the cream of the Android crop. "Best of all, of course, is the fact that the Nexus S is a clean install of Android, and a pure Google experience," Tech Crunch writes. "There is no messy third-party software to muck things up."

VentureBeat predicts that Gingerbread's NFC technology, found on the Nexus S, will be a trend for other smartphones to follow. Says VentureBeat:

[N]ear-field communication (NFC) technology, which allows [the Nexus S] to wirelessly retrieve information from NFC tags on items like posters and stickers, as well as make in-person purchases without the need for a credit card. The inclusion of the technology is a big sign that NFC will find its way into many more Android phones in 2011.

The L.A. Times has details about the Nexus S pricing and release date:

Just in time for the holidays, the phone will hit Best Buy stores in the U.S. on Dec. 16. The Nexus S, which will be the first to feature the Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system, will cost $529 unlocked without a service contract. Packaged with a two-year T-Mobile agreement, it'll run $199.

Take a look at our slideshow (below) for photos of the upcoming Nexus S, and visit Google's official Nexus S page to explore this new device and the Gingerbread operating system.

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