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Nexus S (google.com)
364 points by tomerico on Dec 6, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 263 comments

Since I know that many Googlers follow HN, I just want to say:

Thank you. Thank you for ensuring that a clean, root-able, modern phone is available for developers and all those who like to fully own the devices they purchase.

You also have to thank T-Mobile. That's the only sane carrier in the US who lets you buy plans without bundled phone loans, i.e. if you don't need to borrow $500 for a phone you just get a plan without loan payments rolled in.

Ugh. Before you thank T-Mobile, try actually signing up for their contract-less service. I literally spent two hours on the phone, and they still managed to screw up almost every aspect of my plan. Many other aspects of the service become more expensive, nullifying the (minimal) cost savings, and the activation fees are outrageous. Additionally, they will never allow you to sign up for T-Mobile contract again.

In short, they try to neuter the no-contract option in any way they can. I am actively regretting it right now, and the only upside is that I'm looking for a different carrier, and I don't have to worry about early-cancellation fees.

Wow. I've had nothing but great experiences with the no-contract option on T-Mobile. Signup was completely trivial, have had no complaints about the service. It's been a very real savings.

What do you mean, you can't sign up for a contract? They're actively turning down more money for the same service?

> What do you mean, you can't sign up for a contract? They're actively turning down more money for the same service?

shrug That's what they told me-- my account would be flagged and I wouldn't be allowed to sign up for a contract with them ever again once I went the no-contract route. It didn't make any sense to me at the time, and still doesn't, except for cynically suspecting that it was a scare-tactic to chase me back to a contract option.

I'm curious if anybody knows of any legitimate reasons why this would be their policy.

I haven't worked in a phone tree in a loooong time.

That said, when there are hundreds of people who could take your call, don't be afraid to just hang up and roll the dice on someone else. 50% of reps are below average. if you're pretty sure you're a standard deviation or two off center, just call back.

I had absolutely no problem switching over to the unsubsidized, contract-free account, took less than 5 minutes over the phone, but they did tell me the same thing about not being able to go back to contract.

However, another friend of mine did the same thing, then decided he wanted to go back on contract. He called them asking for it and, when they declined, said he wanted to cancel and go for another provider. They routed him off to the retention department who apparently do have the authority to get him back on the contract plan and did so with minimal fuss. Of course, YMMV, but it worked out just fine for him. In the meantime, I'm still saving money over two years by going non-contract.

I didn't have any problem doing this either, but I also went in with the pre-release G2 and the salespeople were just about peeing their pants :)

You can only sign up for the Even More Plus plans (contract-free plans) by walking into an official t-mobile store. They used to offer it on their website as a nice choice, but they removed to reduce confusion, but probably really to increase contracts.

Furthermore, if you walk into the store, they also have an extended payment plan for your phone, thus you can get a Contract Free plan, which will save you $20 a month, for example Even More Plus 500 (Unlimited Data, Unlimited Text, Nights, Weekends, and 500 minutes) for $59.99 (equiv contract plan is $79.99) a month. Then they have an extended payment plan for your phone where you can pay $20 a month with 0% interest and no fees until your phone is paid off, thus giving the best of both worlds, no contract, no big upfront costs for phone, and once your phone is paid off you don't have that added cost per month. Really excellent and saves you around $400 - $1000 versus a contract.

Wow, you are right. I signed up for the Even More Plus on the web when I got my Nexus one six months ago, but now it's gone. Back then it was a breeze, I just picked "Sim" for my phone option and that was it. That's kind of annoying.

Funny, because I walked into a T-Mobile with my N-1 store and the franchisee set me up in about 20 minutes with their pay-in-advance plan. I had one problem, where they tried to bill me at the outset for 3 months' service in advance instead of one.

I called them up and said they had better refund it. They said it was standard policy where there was no contract. I pointed out that I brought my phone to them, the account was profitable from the moment it was opened, and that it would make for a more than usually compelling internet consumer tantrum. I got a crawling apology and a month of free service to substantiate it.

I pay $70 at the beginning of each month. I get unlimited data and have never hit the 600/mo. minute limit, if I did the next rung of the plan is $75 or $77. It's reasonable and more importantly, predictable.

I'm glad it's funny to you. For me it was without a doubt the worst customer service/sales experience of my entire life. I don't mean that as mere invective or rhetoric, I mean that literally-- I have never had a worse experience trying to give a company money.

Almost nobody I talked to had any idea what was going on or what they were talking about. I was billed for all kinds of crazy stuff I never signed up for, and I have been billed an activation fee of ~$120 for three months running. I'm also being billed for phone insurance I've cancelled at least four times.

I want to state that every phone rep I've talked to has been unfailingly polite, which is marginally nicer but doesn't fix any of my problems. Bad but obsequious customer service is still bad customer service.

I've since been told not to bother with T-Mobile's phone system; apparently walking into a T-Mobile store is a much less stressful and faster way of dealing with them. I plan on trying that, if I ever feel the need to contact them again.

I'm sorry if you got the impression I was mocking you. By 'funny' I meant 'strange' rather than 'amusing.' I generalized from my ability to get the problem fixed quickly and finally, and felt surprised that you had such a persistent problem. I didn't mean to belittle or dismiss your bad experience, and would be quite interested to hear from others about which set of experiences is more typical. I'm not involved with or any kind of stockowner in Google or T-M by the way.

And I apologize for the snark attack. I'm still tussling with them over a few issues, and just thinking about it gets me wound up.

I keep hearing that T-Mobile is #2 in customer satisfaction, and I wonder how. Looking at changing providers, I worry that other providers are actually that much worse. That, or that my experience is dragging down the average that's keeping T-Mobile out of the #1 spot. :)

I have a N900 (you have to buy them straight from nokia at full price). I walked into a T-Mobile store, and asked for a plan. They said:

(1) Cool phone! (2) Sure, here you go.

I'm paying about $20/month less than I did on my AT&T/iPhone plan. It's nice.

I'm using a pay-as-you-go plan with my Nexus One and couldn't be happier. I just called them up and they had a sim in the mail for me that day.

What do you say exactly when you call them up?

Also what happens if I find out tmobile doesn't work well in my area? Is there a return policy?

Just say you want a pay-as-you-go plan. They are on their website.

If you don't like it, then just throw out the sim card and don't refill your account. ;)

Many other aspects of the service become more expensive

Can you elaborate on this, specifically what extra fees or services they charged you for?

The big one was my SMS plan.

With contract, I had (iirc) 200 SMSes a month; going no-contract I have to pay $10/mo. for the smallest text plan they offer. I don't get a lot of texts, the few freebies were plenty for the little bit I used.

Looking back at my data plan, I now realize they've grandfathered in my data plan on my line at the previous rate ($25/mo) rather than the new rate ($30/mo) which they told me that they would not be able to do-- still a screwup, but one in my favor this time. :) I just hadn't looked at that part of the bill, so that's one that I thought had gone up, but hadn't

Additionally, there's the phone insurance I'm still being billed for-- it's $4 a month now, but I'm so sick of fighting with them that I'll try one more time, but I'll probably just keep paying it until I go with someone else.

I still can't wrap my head around the fact that here in US you have to pay for received SMSs.... and calls.

The SMS problem i worked around with sms->email services. and can't wait to have a solid SIP client on the phone so i can also ditch the call problem :)

Why do people still pay for SMS in the days of Google Voice and MMS?

For one thing, Google Voice sms does not work with shortcodes, so if you want to use any sms service based on a shortcode, Google Voice will not work.

What do people use shortcodes for? Especially with a smartphone in front of them?

Shortcodes are an easy way to type 5 or 6 numbers and send a quick message. I use the google shortcode to get phone numbers for local businesses. It saves a trip to the browser and is an easy way to retrieve information without leaving the "phone" feature of my smart phone.

Some people cannot be convinced that there is any other form of communication available from a cell phone. :)

I believe you still cannot send multi-media texts with Google voice yet.

Maybe you are discounting these guys as not being sane, but I just recently found out that Virgin Mobile USA (a Sprint owned MVNO) has recently added a smart phone no contract option with an extremely reasonable monthly fee - $25/mo for unlimited* (5.5gb) data, unlimited texts and 300 minutes - and tops out at $60/mo for unlimited minutes. It's far from perfect, though as they don't allow non-VM phones and their only android choice is the decidedly mid/low end samsung intercept (2.1 eclair, evdo rev 0 only) for ~$150-$200 but I still thought it was impressive to see any sizable dataplan for $25 all in. They also offer no contract usb 3g for $40 - $20 less than sprint charged me for years on contract, and $10 less than I recently paid for a verizon backed MVNO no contract usb data plan.

They apparently have legendarily bad customer service though.

On the subject, does anyone know if there are any high end sprint targeted phones that are exploitable to the point of being able to change whatever UMTS/WCDMA uses for identifying numbers that you might be able to convince a hardware specific MVNO like this to enroll a phone that wasn't their own?

Can you hack non-VM phones to use this plan?

I guess that's a much better way to phrase my last paragraph

The only reason I switched from T-Mobile is for the iPhone. If Android is in a good enough place when this phone dies, I might switch back, because T-Mobile knows how to treat customers and the other carriers just don't.

I'm on the record as an iPhone partisan, but I am very happy that Google is doing this. The world needs more phones designed for people and not for carriers.

I'd also like to render my thanks for an awesome OS and phones. I feel bad that my T-Mobile experience is squatting at the top of the comments, and I don't want people to get the wrong idea-- I still love my Android phone, and my next phone will also be an Android-- probably a Nexus S. :)

The phone looks great and is everything I want in a smart phone - especially the up-to-date OS that is unencumbered by a custom UI. However, the timing of this announcement is terrible.

If google really wanted to win over people who feel trapped in the walled garden of iOS, they should have made some sort of announcement about this phone back in June/July when millions of people were exiting their 2 year iphone 3g contracts. I know I certainly would have waited for it if I had known, but as it is now I'm stuck with AT&T for another cycle.

The phone was released when there was something to release, complaining that it didn't happen half a year ago doesn't make much sense. Not to mention that December is usually considered a perfect time for releasing new gadgets.

Um, almost all Android phones are rootable and can run custom firmware builds (certainly all HTC's and most Samsungs).

Find instructions at http://forum.xda-developers.com/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Pa...

(Just making the point, you don't HAVE to buy a Nexus line of phone for this)

Almost all Android phones are rootable in the same sense that the iPhone is rootable -- only by virtue of an accidental security flaw. The Nexus One/S are the only Android phones where root is not a privilege you have to take back from the manufacturer by force.

Is that policy or merely benign neglect? I keep seeing comments to the effect that a certain HTC model has been rooted, implying it's an accomplishment that was in doubt or at least troublesome. I feel obliged to support the vendor that openly decides to treat me like a tool-using human being pour encourager les autres.

None of them make it particularly easy, but some manufacturers have a "wink-wink, nudge-nudge" towards rooting. For example, the Samsung Vibrant is trivial to root, and the SIM unlock code is stored unencrypted on the device itself.

I'm still going to get a Nexus S, though; Google keeps their software more up-to-date.

Basically any Android device can be rooted and flashed but how difficult it can be is the problem. The HTC Vision (T-Mobile G2) has a complete copy of it's ROM on board to "restore" if you flash the phone. Motorola has also done a good job of locking bootloaders.

It won't be surprising if these "security" measures keep escalating as carriers try to find new ways to extract revenue, such as charging extra for tethering.

To be fair, I don't believe that was done to stop people from rooting their phones. One of the most common ways for phones to become damaged/bricked is for OTA updates to fail; the HTC Vision/G2/Desire Z method means that if that happens, the phone still works. Which is obviously better for the average user.

That said, it's not much of a stretch to believe it was a nefarious attempt to block rooters from rooting either.

Not true. It just has write-protection. It only looks like it's "restoring" because linux is caching FS writes, but never gets to flush them.

See here for details: http://forum.xda-developers.com/wiki/index.php?title=HTC_Vis...

> The HTC Vision (T-Mobile G2) has a complete copy of it's ROM on board to "restore" if you flash the phone.

Not true. The Vision was NAND locked like previous HTC phones. What was actually happening was that if you tried to write to internal storage, the Linux kernel would tell you it was making the changes, but never actually committed the writes to storage. That's why the changes 'disappeared' after a reboot.

I have an older HTC Sprint Hero, and it is root-able in the sense that rooting the phone is possible. However, doing so requires me to download old firmware for the phone from sources (ie files posted to Mediafire or the like) that I don't trust. While I will contend that Android is more customizable than say, iOS, to say that all, many, or most the phones are root-able and thus the platform is more customizable for this reason doesn't follow for me. You can jump through the hoops and jailbreak your iPhone with probably less trouble than it would take to root my Hero. You can also just root the HP/Palm Pre by following the community steps, but there really aren't any other platforms other than iOS or Android are there :P.

For the record, I came to Android from WebOS, and the experience has been very painful. I want my Pre back.

Do Australians get a kick out of hearing that a phone is rootable? I am led to believe that the word means something entirely different there...

No, but we do get a kick out of Americans who talk about rooting for their favourite team.

That's the trouble with America; many of my favourite pickup lines are unusable there. For instance:

"Have you ever tripped over a log?" "No" "How about a root?"

This just means that you can do with your phone anything... anything.

To root essentially means to fuck down in australia.

Same as "anything... anything".

Rootable like a beaut sheila!

This isn't Reddit, and nobody outside television shows marketed to Americans actually talks like that.

You obviously have never been to the Western suburbs of Sydney.

I have (most of Sydney is West) but 'beaut' and 'shiela', really? Even bogans don't use those terms much nowadays.

Relax! I'm actually Australian, and it was actually just a joke.

As well as a swappable sim card that works across multiple carriers. I bought the original nexus because I travel a lot and i didn't wanted to play the hacking game with a phone to get it to "just work" across multiple countries.

What a nice thing to say.

Why do you think this will be rootable?

Also, The nexus one barely was (in the sense that you couldn't replicate a os Build as done by google with the provided source code)


1. The Nexus One was.

2. This phone will be targeted at devs once again, many of which can use such functionality.

> 1. The Nexus One was.

how many samsung ones are? that was my main point

In that case, pretty easy. Samsung doesn't make it too hard to root almost all of their devices.

Most of the Samsung phones have ROMs on them now. The N1 was easy because the vendor overlay that Google provided, worked nearly perfectly out of the box for the N1... which is going to be the case for the Nexus S. Also, the open bootloader helps though I believe Samsung phones are "open" in the sense that ODIN/ODEN(?) can flash it easily without much difficulty.

cyanogenmod any ? http://forum.cyanogenmod.com/forum/33-google-nexus-one/

(Forums currently down because everyone must be flocking there)

my point is not that the hardware allows you to access the bootloader. i said "to do a custom build with the same qualities as the google provided one"

that is still impossible and show how little google is willing to give. (and that's even after i gave them $500 for the phone and $50 for a desktop dock that they will not even let me pair it with non-nexus one bluetooth devices)

I'm not sure what you mean by that, because CM is as custom as it gets: https://github.com/CyanogenMod

It even adds a new "Cyanogenmod settings" to your settings panel where you can do stuff like alter cache size, etc.

CM removes the default launcher and replaces it with the ADW launcher. CM also incorporated the AAC+ bug fixes much before Google.

In conjunction with the DroidBasement overclocked kernels (http://droidbasement.com/db-blog/), I have my ole MyTouch 3G performing better than stock 2.2

Could you cite why you say that it is impossible to "to do a custom build with the same qualities as the google provided one" ?

Is there any plans to release a dock for it? One that can pass-through the USB connection for charging and development? I sorely miss the simple dock that the iPhone (3/3GS/4) has for development.


$16. even charges a second battery. way better than the crappy official cradle i got.

the usb audio feature of the official cradle is cool at first, until you remove the phone and audio stops! mind blowing that something wireless got turned off when you remove the device. then the fanboys here will downvote me because you can enable it in a way that it does not turn off. but then you have to manually turn on, loosing all the appeal of just putting in the cradle to turn it on.

It had an unlockable bootloader and openly flashable recovery. Additionally, Google themselves have responded to the complaint that the builds are missing some bits. They have taken steps to remove those hooks as being necessary, and some of the pieces of the bootstrap are not their property to place in AOSP.

That having been said, CM had a build running on his Nexus One within hours of source being released...

For those who have No Fucking Clue what NFC is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near_Field_Communication

I think this is the coolest new feature, and I hope all new phones have NFC. RFID tags scan way quicker than QR codes, and don't rely on decent lighting (or an ugly code).

Further, NFC means the device also has it's own RFID tag. Visa: please replace my credit card with an app. Your card readers already have the near-field hardware!

There's a similar system already in place in Japan, it's quite impressive. You can link a credit card to your phone and actually use it like a ticket at train gates, or buy stuff and pay the bills at convenience stores by scanning the phone. Adoption seems to be a bit slow though, probably because of the risk of linking a phone to a credit card, and sheer habit.


Printing something on a label/piece of paper is still orders of magnitude cheaper than embedding a RFID tag...

Also, Gingerbread does not support writing from the device (i.e., your phone cannot act as its own RFID tag), I'm supposing the hardware support is there, though.

I wonder if it supports NFC such that I can replace all my swipe cards and it can identifying itself based on GPS. That would be pretty handy.

I see what you did there.

"Near Field Communications (NFC)"

So the ability to both emulate a contactless smartcard and interrogate passive rfid devices. Pretty damn cool - the ability to open doors/start cars/unlock computers/pay for stuff just with your phone without resorting to bluetooth/wifi hacks or addon hardware. Also opens you up to lots of potential applications for extra information in the real world on things that otherwise don't have barcodes.

* open doors/start cars/unlock computers/pay for stuff just with your phone*

Another reason why Android badly needs proper security like encryption of the whole system. I am really scared about losing my phone already and it only contains private information, no keys or money or anything like that.

I believe this technology is usually implemented smart card style, ie in a tamper resistant package with an integrated cryptographic processor. So while yes, you could lose it it wouldn't be (reasonably) copyable - and you'd be in a similar situation to if you lost your keys or your credit card. In this case you'd need to revoke the keys, similar to changing your locks or credit card numbers. I also believe the contactless payment functionality should at least have an option (or require) a separate PIN.

Hell yes, my number one most desired feature for android is proper strong encryption of the whole system.

I'm reticent to cache any passwords on there or store useful but sensitive data on my phone since I can't easily encrypt it (unlike my laptop).

File based encrypters might do your sensitive stuff fairly easy - there are a lot of options out there.

I understand the ease of system encryption, but then your files are still available to other apps/exploits or if the attacker roots the phone. For instance the iphone AES-256 is easy enough to jb and get at a full unencrypted fs even without knowing the PIN.

If you can get around full-disk encryption by a jailbreak or rooting, then it's obviously not actually full-disk encryption. LUKS et al should be ported to Android. Does anyone know how hard that would be? Android kernel is not massively different from plain Linux, so it shouldn't be too difficult to build the modules needed for full-disk encryption, right?

Are rfid cards used for payment on any subway systems in the states? If so can you already use that card for payment in shops etc?

They're used in some subways - boston & new york at least - though I don't know if these are just trials or if they've perhaps ended. You definitely can't walk into a merchant and expect a contactless payment though - I'm pretty sure merchant roll outs so far have been limited to pay at the pump trials.

Boston is a completely contactless system using the same RFID chips as in London. It isn't a trial.

Although it also doesn't cover the entire system. The commuter rail trains go out where they can't rely on wireless coverage (in fact, there's at least one stretch on my line where we can rely on not getting coverage), so they can't install the card readers. As a result, the monthly passes for zones beyond Boston are still in ticket form.

You can store payment or your monthly pass on the MBTA card in Boston.

It's been live for a few years, so I'm pretty sure it's not a trial run.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, the Clipper card can be used on Caltrain, BART, and Muni.

It seems this implementation is receive only - so not nearly as cool as I thought.

I'm disappointed nobody seems to be discussing the curved display. Are there any other touchscreen devices with curved screens? If so, have any of you had any experience using one? I'm quite curious to find out out if that's a useful feature or not.

Is the display itself curved or is the display cover?

Supposedly the display itself is subtly curved. http://www.google.com/nexus/#!/features

The Palm Pre had a slightly curved display, it was pretty nice I thought.

Really? If my original Palm Pre has a curved screen, it's basically imperceptible. (And if anything, looks to be convex, not concave.)

HTC Evo's battey life is dismal? I have a Desire HD (the European equivalent) and I get two days of normal usage. Of course, I never use it normally, as I'm always browsing websites or playing games, but I did when I attempted it.

However, I do imagine that the AMOLED display will not draw as much power, so it might indeed last longer.


from a recent review by Anand:


Also, AMOLED will only be more efficient if you view dark screens more often than bright ones, which I don't think would be true for most web browsing.

Update: eliminated shortened urls.

Please don't use URL shorteners here. You still have time to change it.

Edit: Thanks for changing it!

Oh yeah, the battery on my EVO doesn't last much more than a couple hours. Even sitting overnight will drain the battery 30% it seems. Even with that its such a better phone than any other I have used on sprint.

Replace the stock firmware with a custom one. Not only will you appreciate the flexibility and extra functionality the battery life will no doubt improve.

My Evo can go at least a day and usually most of 2 days on a single charge. I use FreshEVO Firmware, but there are other options too.

HTC tends to bundle undersize batteries with their phones. It's possible the Euro Desire has a larger capacity battery.

According to this http://www.tmonews.com/2010/12/nexus-s-product-page-goes-liv...

US pricing is $529 unlocked and $199 with two years on T-Mobile

Other than NFC, more internal storage, and Gingerbread pre-installed, this pretty much has the same specs as my Nexus One, which I've been very happy with (no touch screen bugs here).

I think NFC changes the rules of the game. This is why I'd call it Nexus N(FC)!

Nice! I have an N1, love it, and was apprehensive about my options going forward.

Wow. You love the buggy touch screen?

And the fact that google gave zero support for the phone, to the point of shutting down the community help forum.


My Nexus One touchscreen works fine. And the one time I called tech support it seemed acceptable.

wow. you will really tell me that your touch screen never, ever, becames crazy from time to time and you have to lock and unlock your nexus one so it can came back? mine happens 90% that the phone is charging and i pick it up. most of the time i have to call someone back because i couldn't even pick the call thanks to the touch screen bug.

or we have some 13 google employees here (who should be fixing those bugs instead of wasting time here :D) or your phone are really better than mine and some hundreds that complain about that. just check youtube.

Yes, I will really tell you that my touch screen has never, ever done that. I don't think my wife's has either. Perhaps there is a batch with a faulty hardware component.

Good to know. didn't know there were "good phones". will try to contact them for the 10th time and hope they will at least reply to me this time.

thank you

My recent RMA to HTC went quite painlessly.

FYI - my touchscreen worked fine.

Care to share the steps?

every time i contact google about it (i bought my nexus one via their store, with google checkout) i'm 100% ignored.

just contacted them again about the touch screen not working when i read the first comment here, and again, ignored so far.

This is a known bug with some of the phones but not all of them. I have the same bug but unfortunately I figured it out after I unlocked it.

Interesting. Do you have a source on that? Is it not something that software can fix? I think my N1 suffers from this bug and I'd like to know.

Just google it. It's definitely not a software problem because some people never experienced it. Basically the screen becomes unusable as if you were pressing constantly its bottom part. Given that the nexus one doesn't really have a real multitouch, your input will be averaged with a pressure on the bottom and the cursor will always move somewhere in between the spot you touched and the lower edge of the screen. For some reason, you lock the phone by pressing the power button, you unlock it and it's fine again.

It happens to me maybe once or twice a week.

happens to me 1-3 times a day.

mostly when i'm writting a lot.

now that i'm using swype (not sure i like it yet, but everyone should try it!) i can see that it sometimes draw a line caming from the bottom of the screen, right above the menu button.

The only times I've had problems with the touch screen on my N1, it turned out to be because one of my other fingers or the edge of my hand was overlapping one of the other edges of the screen. :-) For quite a while though I did think that my touchscreen would just stop working.

BTW.. you mentioned problems while charging. Do you keep the phone in the little neoprene pouch while charging? My N1 generates quite a bit of heat when charging with the supplied AC adapter. Doesn't seem to be a problem when the phone is just lying on my desk or my nightstand plugged in, but initially I used to leave it in the pouch at night while charging and it would get alarmingly hot in the pouch. Just an FYI.

I've had my N1 for about 6 months and have never had that happen. The touch screen isn't as good as on my 3G iPhone, but it never freaks as you've described.

Mine did the same thing, I sent it in for a replacement and HTC was easy to deal with and shipped me a phone right away.

You're being very agressively downmodded, but you should have provided a link to prove what you were talking about (I own a HTC Desire, which uses the same touch screen as the N1).

In short: N1 and HTC Desire have major, unfixable multitouch issues: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pU0R9tdodw8

Has anyone here cancelled their att iPhone service? i.e. gotten out of the 2 year contract early? I know this sounds ridiculous but I'd like to make the switch to T-Mobile and Android.

I don't think that sounds ridiculous.

The product release landing page is here: http://www.google.com/nexus/

Quite a simple/beautiful HTML5 design, IMO.

This is a giant tangent but - what is HTML5 about this site?

Well for one, the whole thing is HTML5 given that the page's DOCTYPE is

    <!doctype html> 
I don't have time to look deeper right now.

It looks like that's about it (other than a few "data-*" attributes thrown in). Unless I'm missing something, there's nothing here that couldn't have been done in HTML 4.

HTML 5 is great and all, but please let's not turn it into a marketing buzz-word when it's not really necessary.

> "but please let's not turn it into a marketing buzz-word when it's not really necessary."

I think it's about a year late for that.

So is the search results page, but the number of actual HTML5 features used on the SRP can be counted on one hand.

If you count in binary, you can count to 31 on one hand.

I taught myself to do that when I was about 13, and playing second flute. Lots of really long rests, and I kept getting distracted and losing count.

One hand wasn't enough, though (some of these rests were over 100 measures), so I practiced counting on both hands, though. I didn't have any rests over 1023 measures.

I'm guessing "not flash" - on most sites a few years ago (and probably still today) a product page like that would've definitely been flash.

CSS transitions. Webfonts. Doctype.

[Edit: data attributes]

The design is quite amateurish. The curvature of the header crowds out the (overly-busy) logo and makes me gag. The drop shadow for it cuts off abruptly at the sides, instead of fading into white. The 'S' for Nexus S is flimsy and generic. In fact, all the icons on the site are pretty ugly.

The site does have simplicity going for it. Apple just seems to execute so much better in this area.

That's funny, my first thought was that it looked exactly like an Apple product page, almost embarrassingly so.

As this is a product page and not a comparison matrix, why does it specifically call out the omission of some features like infrared and physical keyboard? Not that I don't appreciate Google being forthcoming about what they chose to leave out (though who expects IR anyway?), but it seems an odd marketing choice.

IR is used a lot in japan to exchange contacts with people you meet. For English speakers it's not that hard to punch in someone's email, but since email addresses have to be roman characters, it's actually a pain for non-english speakers. Thus IR. A new Sharp Android phone was just released on Au that I think is the first android phone with this feature.

But you can just share your contact card as a QR code, which is easily recognized by even the cheapest Japanese phone.

It's Contacts -> <Contact> -> Menu -> Share -> Barcode Scanner.

Unfortunately Android (2.2) doesn't list my contact info in my contacts.

You can add yourself to your address book.

Or NFC! ;)

Or just bump ;)

> but since email addresses have to be roman characters, it's actually a pain for non-english speakers.

Er, no, not at all (well, possibly for the very old?). Roman characters are everywhere in Japan, no-one has any problem dealing with them (pronouncing the words they form? different story).

It's more that exchanging contact details is a lot more work in Japan - number, mail address, name in kanji, name readings (yes, you need these, even if you're Japanese/a native level speaker). Mail addresses are frequently really long and sprinkled with non-alphanumerics. Name kanji are a pain too - there's lots of homophones, so if someone tells you their name you often need to check with them which kanji it is.

Basically: it's almost impossible to convey your contact details verbally, so without IR, you usually wind up just swapping phones for a few minutes (luckily, in Japan you can be pretty carefree about handing your multiple-hundred-dollar phone to a stranger).

Contrast with the situation until recently in the west, where it was usually just a person's name (that you probably knew how to spell already) and a number, and you can kind of see how IR would be a big deal in Japan and not elsewhere.

iPhones have seriously broken contact exchange for young people in Japan, since almost everyone has one, and thus no-one has IR anymore. There's probably money to be made fixing it but so far the only solution I've seen other people actually have on their phones is Bump, and it's never really worked well for me.

Because it's built on a standard format that allows you to compare the Nexus S alongside all the other Android phones that you can browse from that same interface. Eg, compare the Nexus S to the T-Mobile G2 and you will see that one has a physical keyboard and the other does not.

It is supposed to be a "neutral" page for comparison, e.g.


If it is a marketing page, it is marketing for Android as a whole, not specifically for Google branded Android phones.

The marketing page for this particular phone is here:


The tech spec there doesn't list missing features


> As this is a product page and not a comparison matrix, why ...

Because you're wrong. It is a comparison matrix, and not a product page. http://www.google.com/phone lists many different android phones, by many different manufacturers, and offers comparisons.

The Nexus S product page is http://www.google.com/nexus

One of the reasons it might make a point of saying no keyboard is that the rest of the Samsung family of phones the Nexus S has come from do have keyboards.

The Nexus S looks identical to my girlfriend's Sprint Samsung Galaxy S but hers has a flip out keyboard and this doesn't, but the dimensions are pretty similar. I was expecting this to have that too when I first saw a picture.

The only Galaxy S phone with a keyboard is the Epic on Sprint. The others (Vibrant, Fascinate, Captivate, and the I9000) do not have keyboards at all.

I've never owned a cell phone so I may be ignorant, but isn't IR used all over the place for apps that want to scan barcodes or those fancy encrypted images to download an app off a webpage?

You're getting that confused with the QR barcode format.

No, the camera is used for that. IR was used for what bluetooth is used for now.

Not in every situation. Still waiting for TVs to migrate to bluetooth ;)

IRDA was using for serial communications and the frequency are not compatible with TV remotes. the IPAQ pocket pc had wider range of frequency but most phones would not allow you to control your tv

Funnily enough, I can control my TV with my N900.

But you can't send and receive files with it. The N900 has consumer IR and not IRDA, indeed.

That's right.

I'm still not convinced that you couldn't drive an IRDA diode with TV remote data and have it work, though, at least on consumer units running at 870nm.

I for one sure am not holding my breath on that one. You have any idea how much faster the batteries in your remote would die? And it'd never work, because you'd always have to re-pair it.

Wiimotes don't always have to be re-paired with the Wii.

They re-pair after you press a button, and their password is always 1234. It's not secure at all.

They connect when you press a button, but pairing is a more involved operation.

I would never complain about the security of my TV remote, so I still don't see that as an issue.

What if your neighbor ducked right outside your window and constantly set your TV to <undesirable TV network here>? Then you might care. With IR, the signal would be iffy and probably not work at all from the window outside and your neighbor would have to have line-of-sight with the sensor on your TV which means popping the remote up from under his hiding place. With Bluetooth, neighbor-interference is much less complex.

In the case of the Wii, your remote has to be paired with the Wii. You accomplish this by setting the Wii to pairing mode (press the red button inside the Wii) and set the remote to pair (red button under the battery cover of the Wiimode). Other remotes do nothing to a Wii unless paired. So really, the possibility of neighbor-interference with Bluetooth would be much less.

No, those use the camera.

Because it is a comparison matrix. The page you're looking at is there standard template in the Android Phone Gallery. If you just look at the special Nexus Tech Specs page, it doesn't highlite its missing features.

I wish they would announce this sort of things months ahead of time. It's so hard to plan around contract renewals. I just bought a G2, but would much rather have had this.

Under features, portable wi-fi hotspot is touted with no additional carrier fees. This currently works on T-Mobile with my Nexus one, but I assumed I was "getting away" with something. T-Mobile charges $15 for tethering/hotspot on other devices.

No offline maps?! The Google boys need to go out more and see how the real world uses their phones. Very often, I found myself needing maps the most in areas with poor network reception (e.g., the Swiss Alps) and in places where data connectivity was not an option (e.g., London underground). I was very excited to hear about HTC implementing such a feature in their latest Sense builds and I hope Google will catch up and make it a native feature.

Edit: Okay, it seems they know about the problem and apparently the new version of Google Maps for Mobile will have some sort of offline caching capabilities. Hurray!

I'm pleasantly surprised people aren't having a privacy freak-out over NFC yet. My concern is more practical: too many eggs in one basket. I feel like if NFC were to really live up to its hype I would need to keep a secondary device with me at all times as a backup in the same way I carry multiple credit cards and have a spare set of keys for my car. I suppose when it becomes a more mature technology that would be an ideal use for an older generation phone with NFC.

Yes. I'm kind of puzzled and sad about NFC in general - at a technical level it seems to be basically trying to do the same thing as bluetooth, just with a different security profile. If they had somehow built this thing on top of a bluetooth profile we might have seen way more rapid adoption with backporting to all kinds of different devices - as it is, I don't expect to see this at a retailer near me for years.

Indeed. Losing a transit card is bad. Losing a credit card is bad. Losing a phone is bad. Losing all of these at the same time?

Yes, let's figure out a backup system.

When it says "Three-axis gyroscope" does it actually mean "Three-axis accelerometer"? Or can I really use my phone to stabilize myself in space?

Probably something like http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9070

iPhone 4 added one too: http://www.apple.com/iphone/specs.html

I guess it is a 3-axis gyro + 3-axis accelerometer so this would enable it as an inertial measurement unit (IMU).

The iphone 4 also has it http://www.apple.com/iphone/design/

It's a shame the NFC support isn't complete. Supposedly can only read tags for now, not emulate them (though the NXP PN544 chip is perfectly capable of that).

http://developer.android.com/reference/android/nfc/package-s... is looking VERY sparse. Hopefully it gets completed soon.

That thing is a desktop PC. It happens to be phone shaped, but geez.

Seems really similar to the Samsung Galaxy S (Vibrant) and I am disappointed to see it doesn’t have the 1. roller ball 2. physical buttons (that you can feel) for home/back/menu/search 3. LED (for notifications)

Now, if only Samsung would upgrade the GalaxyS owners to 2.2 (as promised) or 2.3 (wishful thinking).

Since it has bascially the same specs as the Galaxy S it would be really nice if Samsung would stop all there closed source/custom (Bada+)Android stuff.

I always waited for the opportunity to use a stock Android on my Galaxy S. Hopefully this will be possible soon.

Ugh, Can't use it in my area of Canada. Need AT&T compatibility. Damn you, TMobile.

Yup, this blows. I was getting excited for the Nexus S as an unlocked supplement to my iPhone for when I travel abroad, but not being able to use it on AT&T 3G here in the U.S. is a dealbreaker.


Quad-band GSM: 850, 900, 1800, 1900

Tri-band HSPA: 900, 2100, 1700

HSPA type: HSDPA (7.2Mbps) HSUPA (5.76Mbps)

AT&T doesn't work on any of these bands in your area? Which frequency do they use?

AT&T 3G is on 850 and 1900. So the GP would be able to use EDGE, but not 3G.

It's a little odd that a phone which clearly has the antennas to run on 850 and 1900 can't use them for 3G. (Yes, I know it's common. It's still odd.)


AT&T doesn't work on any bands, period, in the poster's area - he's in Canada. Rogers, Telus, and Bell in Canada, and AT&T in the US, all operate HSPA (3G) networks on the CLR and PCS (850MHz and 1900MHz) bands.

900 and 1800 are Europe only GSM and DCS bands. 2100 can mean either the European IMT band or the US/Canada AWS band. 1700 denotes that US/Canada AWS band.

Anyways, it appears that the Nexus S only supports the GSM, IMT, and AWS bands for modern wireless communications (HSPA). That sucks because it means that in Canada you're stuck with Wind Mobile who have a terrible network.


The Nexus S isn't much of an option in Canada. Thanks, Google.

You should be able to get a Samsung Captivate from Rogers, which looks to be very similar hardware-wise, though a couple of revs back in OS.

If we wanted a locked phone, there are many more options than the Captivate on Rogers. The whole point of this is to get a developer phone without carrier-specific garbage attached to it, a rooting procedure that's a bit easier than an iPhone jailbreak, and an OS that can be updated in a timely fashion when Google releases it. And for Canucks, this means living with Wind Mobile.

Hmmm. I wonder about much web surfing battery it has. There is quite a jump between talk time and standby time. I assume browsing uses up more battery than talking.

"Talk time 6 hours Standby time (max) 428 hours"

The Engadget review talks about talk time and internet usage as the same thing, so I guess 6 hours.

VoIP and NFC certainly look interesting. Will the VoIP/SIP support allow me to interface with my PBX for mobile extension calling? I sure hope so!

FWIW, i have been using VoIP with my original Android G1 all this time with the SIPdroid program. It works fairly well.

I'm mildly disappointed that it's only released on T-Mobile. I had figured that one reason to go with a Samsung device was that they already shipped a single core hardware set to every carrier, so there would be a low barrier to getting this thing on every carrier (or at least more than one). I guess this is not under Google's control, but still, I had hopes ...

I am too. I've been on T-Mobile for years, and I'm relatively happy with their service, but 3G reception (although fast when I can get it) simply isn't on par with AT&T.

Aside from that, I just don't like the fact that even though my phone is unlocked, I can really only use Tmo or wifi for fast data.

It sounds like since the Nexus S runs stock Android it may not include the Swype text input system common on other Android phones -- practically a killer app for touchscreen text entry. Does anyone know if it will be available on the Nexus S (either preinstalled or as an add-on)?

Swype may still be running their general beta, so there are APKs floating about that let you install it. I'm a SwiftKey guy myself, though.

Shiny and plasticky is the signature Samsung look. Great hardware, great screen, but the handset itself ends up looking cheap. This is one reason I returned my Galaxy S, and now Samsung have done it again.

Edit: okay, the actual images don't look that bad.

Now, if only it could do HSPA on band 1900 so I could get 3G with it in Buenos Aires. :(

mmmh. I was not impress with the iphone 4 and I am not impressed with this either. I have a nexus one and the only thing that make me jealous with the S is the NFC. Are we reaching a plateau in mobile phone development?

How can you be impressed or not with a device you have not even touched? What about it isn't impressive?

I'm withholding my final judgment until I can play with one in person, but honestly, I kind of see the original poster's point. If you have a Nexus One, what do you get by upgrading to the S?

The Nexus One already has the 800×480 screen, the 1GHz processor (though it's an older Snapdragon instead of the newer Hummingbird SoC), the 512MB of RAM... Where's the dual-core CPU? The higher-resolution screen? The extra RAM? There's not a lot of incentive to upgrade here unless you need a curved screen or NFC.

The nexus one's screen is actually more like 650x400, since they have some weird tricks to squeeze in subpixels. The Galaxy S line (I have a Vibrant, currently) has a much better screen.

Galaxies also have higher-resolution touch detection and better graphics chips; they offload a lot of the UI rendering to hardware, which makes the experience very smooth.

Unfortunately, Samsung is dragging their feet on upgrades. Current Galaxy owners are stuck on 2.1, with no news about 2.2. A Google-branded phone, with Galaxy hardware, is exciting.

That said, it's a $600 phone; if you've already got last-years $600 phone, do you really need to upgrade?

Storage, plain and simple. The Nexus One has a pitifully small internal application storage and everyone I know with one (who chooses not to root it) battles with space for applications. The 16Gig internal would be a dream. (though the lack of an SD slot really sucks... as does the lack of an LED)

Why do you think touching it would change my judgement? What should be impressing me? The shape? The weight? Snappier display?

None of them is worthed 600 pounds over my nexus one. Mobile phones development exploded in the last 3 years, now I have the impression they may just get a bit faster but I don't see anything really innovative coming. It's a legitimate observation, isn't it?

It's fast. It feels great in the hand.

I bet most of the speed comes from 2.3 - Moving 2.1 to 2.2 on the N1 gave a gigantic performance improvement. I am looking forward to see what 2.3 will bring.

As for feels great in the hand: that's really a minor improvement.

I am happy about what google is doing with android. More than happy, enthusiastic. I think we reached that point where most of the difference between competitor mobiles will be played at software level, not hardware.

Not sure how much I can say about hardware, but it feels a lot snappier than the N1.

Contrary, only armchair commentary has plateaued.

am I the only want noticing the speech recognition feature "go to reddit" ?

I thought that was a cute touch.

Is there a price anywhere?

From http://www.whatmobile.net/2010/12/google-nexus-s-launches-ex...:

Pre-ordering is available later today from www.carphonewarehouse.com or www.bestbuy.co.uk and this is almost certainly the only way you’re going to get hold of one before the new year. The handset will be free on £35/month contracts, or available SIM-free for £549.95.

I'm not sure of US/T-mo pricing though.

No. I don't think Google will be selling the device themselves, like they did with the Nexus One. They will rather rely on external partners.

From the consumer landing page someone else linked to:

After December 16, Nexus S will be sold unlocked and carrier-independent initially through Best Buy stores in the U.S. and after December 20 at Carphone Warehouse stores in the UK.

{update} It looks like instead of selling the unlocked phone themselves, and selling carrier-locked phones in carrier-controlled retail outlets, they are using external partners to push the unlocked phone this time. At least they are learning from their mistakes. Presumably Best Buy will do some marketing for the phone (compared with the lack of marketing for the Nexus One).

They are using external partners to literally get these phones in people's hands. Consumers really want to touch phones before taking it home and Google seems to have taken this lesson to heart. Also having an army of blueshirts to provide setup help at purchase will make the less technically savvy happy campers.

Buying the Nexus One without feeling one first definitely was a little weird for me, but the return policy assuaged my misgivings.

To me that is part of marketing.

Best Buy has announced that Nexus S will be available on Dec16th for $529 (unlocked) and $199 (with T-mobile contract). More info at - http://www.bby.com/2010/12/06/best-buy-mobile-partners-with-...

Since it is an upgraded Samsung Galaxy S, I'd expect it in the same price range, mavbe sligthly higher.

Upgraded internals, sure, but the removal of the fold-out keyboard seems a backwards step given the overall dimensions of the unit isn't much different.

The keyboard is only on the Sprint version called the "Epic 4G". It's not on the other variants of the Galaxy S such as the Vibrant, Fascinate and Captivate.

The UK Carphone Warehouse has it listed as 550 pounds unlocked, which is about $860 or 650€.

Why is this an exciting phone? Genuinely curious. The specs seem the same as (CPU) or lower than (display resolution) than N1.

EDIT: My bad. Looks like the screen resolution is identical.

Can anyone provide us with a step by step instructions on how to get this phone?

I'm really confused about buying a phone plan after I buy the phone.

Wait until the 16th. Walk into Best Buy.

Will I choose a carrier at Best Buy, or do I have to sign up later? What if no carrier supports it and I'm stuck with the phone?

You can walk out with it unlocked, but it will only support T-Mobile's 3G bands.

Still no FM Radio. I don't understand why it is so hard to get that feature.

Requires extra hardware, and I have to imagine that the vast majority of people would prefer to listen to their 16 GB of mp3s. I think you're just in the minority on demand for this feature.

> Requires extra hardware

Are you sure? For comparison the iPhone uses a Broadcom BCM4325 http://www.broadcom.com/products/Bluetooth/Bluetooth-RF-Sili... for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, this chip also can also do FM Rx. Of course that functionality isn't exposed...

The N1 has a similar Broadcom chipset (BCM4329), and although the FM radio functionality is not enabled on the stock N1, it's been enabled in recent Cyanogen builds.

Are there any additional licensing/regulation requirements around FM radios that would prevent them from just including it?

I doubt it, given that you can get FM radios under $10.

I doubt that Apple could expose it with a software update -- presumably to receive FM with the chip you would also need an FM antenna and attendant mainboard changes (not to mention room in the case). These things sound like extra hardware to me.

At least on the Nexus One, your headphones are the antenna...

Same with my last few Nokia phones.

...and FM radio is free to listen to and Apple will quite happily sell you music from ITMS.

Nexus one has FM radio hardware. It's available with some custom mods. (like CyanogenMod 6.1)

>16GB of memory

Not the clearest phrasing. 16GB solid state, 512MB RAM.

When will we see an international version?

I apologize, this is barely tangentially related... but I'm excited to endorse Google and T-Mobile...

I'm currently paying Verizon $40/month for an extra line on a family plan, and unlimited data with no tethering (though I do for free via CM6.1). I could have my own account with T-Mobile and get unlimited data for $50/month with no voice minutes.

I can use Google Voice and the Gizmo SIP Provider to be accessible via Voice Calls. I want the Nexus S. I am tired of Verizon, Motorola and HTC's nonsense with the locked NAND and the locked Bootloader. No new VZW phones have custom roms, in fact, hardly any since the Droid 1.

Go Google. Go T-Mobile. Thanks for not being (as) evil (as everyone else).

Watch out -- this was my thinking exactly when I went with an N900 on Tmobile. Unfortunately... didn't quite work out. The latency just kills calls unless I'm on Wifi. Pinging google.com, I get around 300-350ms latency on 3G and over a 1000ms latency on GPRS, which I have about half the time. In Boston, FWIW, not sure how it is elsewhere.

Now, that could just be the N900, which I'm growing more and more irritated by, but I think in this case it's more reasonable to blame the network than the phone.

I'd like to say that with my N900 on wind mobile in Canada, I get 200ms and skype is basically all I use. It works great!

I typically see 70-150ms pings when I'm on HSPA+. 200-300ms if I'm connected to UMTS 3G.

I wish tmo wasn't the only major carrier without a 3g femtocell option. I can't even get tmobile 2g at my house.

I could easily overlook this if they rolled out UMA (aka Generic Network Access) on all handsets. Its been the saving grace for me on my Blackberry, especially in large convention centers with poor cell reception. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generic_Access_Network

yeah. seems they've basically abandoned uma though. speculation is uma cannabalizes their 3g.

The U.S. arm of the German phone giant is a big supporter of Google’s Android OS, and last week, when I asked a T-Mobile USA representative if there were plans to add UMA to Android phones, he said T-Mobile will continue to support UMA on the current and forthcoming BlackBerry devices and Nokia E73. That’s four models in total. In other words, T-Mobile has no plans on adding UMA to Android phones.


I've also heard the abandonment attributed to lower overall fees from usage, especially say, when traveling.

The G2 got WiFi calling added with its first official firmware update, FWIW. I'd imagine the new Nexus will likely support this as well, nevermind the fact that 2.3 supports native SIP calling.

Really? Is this something different from UMA - tmobiles wifi based femto like service - that would be perfect for me but it seems they aren't putting it in new handsets anymore. Unless the G2 got UMA? That would be awesome.

Or does tmobile have some sort of official VOIP service now that allows you to receive calls on your cell # if you are up on wifi but aren't on the carrier network?

I know I could use gv+sip provider to get voice at home but at least in my mind the femto setup we have with verizon is nice - low muss, works with feature phones, people who visit etc. Well you can't have everything.

Wifi calling on the G2 is UMA based, AFAIK. Even works with your existing router, unlike the earlier T-Mo stuff where they wanted you to buy their router to do it. They've dropped the extra monthly charge for using it, as well, though it does still use plan minutes.

Sound quality is a little worse than 3G calling, IME, but it works very well. It's been handy in my office where T-Mo signal is a little spotty. (Yet, I step outside the front door and have 5 bars ;)).

Man, looking at that landing page, you cannot have a doubt in your mind that google has absolutely no style. Emotion is an important part of decision making too, Google!

no freakin' keyboard


It says there's a 3.5mm headphone jack

well, for me, it's a deal breaker

It's a deal breaker... that is has a headphone jack? I feel as if I'm missing context due to the deleted post, but I'm confused.

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