Google Nexus S skips Australia


This morning Google unveiled the Nexus S, the latest in its self-branded line-up of Android phones, and the first device globally to ship with the new 2.3 ‘Gingerbread’ version of its operating system. The caveat? The search giant has no plans so far to launch the device in Australia.

“No timeline to announce at this stage — sorry!” said a Google spokesperson when asked whether the device will launch in Australia. So far Google has only confirmed plans to launch the device in two markets — the United States and the UK.

The spokesperson had nothing further to add when asked why there was no timeline for an Australian launch, or whether the company was talking with local carriers to launch the device.

In addition, unlike the previous Nexus One, which Google made available for purchase directly online internationally, the company has no immediate plans to sell the device itself — partnering with retailers like Best Buy in the US and Carphone Warehouse in the UK.

The device is manufactured by Samsung, which has a strong existing relationship with Australian carriers on the Android front; its Samsung Galaxy S handset proved popular when it launched earlier on this year (initially on Optus, but later broadening its reach), and has been seen as a rival to HTC’s flagship Desire range.

In addition, Samsung has recently launched the Samsung Galaxy Tab Android tablet in Australia on all major carriers, with the device being seen as a potential rival to the iPad. Google’s previous Nexus One handset was sold in Australia through Vodafone.

The Nexus S handset itself supports Australia’s mobile phone networks — including the 850Mhz spectrum used by Telstra and the 900MHz spectrum used by Optus in some areas. Its top download speed is 7.2Mbps under the HSDPA standard supported by the local carriers.

The device has comparable specifications to other high-end smartphones currently on the market; with a 4″ WVGA, super AMOLED screen running at a resolution of 480×800 and using capacitive touch technology. It utilises a 1GHz Cortex A8 (Hummingbird) CPU, and comes with 16GB of onboard memory, and a 5 megapixel back-facing camera, as well as a front-facing VGA camera for video calls.

Some of the new features in the Gingerbread operating system include an updated user interface, support for near field communication (the hardware in the Nexus S also supports this) used for mobile payment technology, and support for video calling and Google TV.

Image credit: Google


  1. Apple has something like 75% of the smartphone market in Australia, the iPhone has achieved a certain societal cachet and it is going to be very tough to beat. Google’s thinking must be, that unless they are willing to go full bore into a market like Australia, there is no point giving Apple free marketing fodder – you can see the headline now, “Nexus S fails to dent iPhone market share.”

    The US and UK markets are much bigger and more fragmented making it easier for Google to make tangible in roads.

    • I don’t think it’s that — actually I think it’s likely more of a manufacturing problem. I don’t think Samsung would be able to get the scale to easily ramp up on something like this without hurting their existing handset lines. This is a custom job — with these sorts of things scale is always an issue. It was the same thing with the Nexus One.

  2. Disappointingly, I haven’t seen any sites that shows this phone will be NextG compatible (850MHz HSPA is lacking)

      • if you’re going to use a smartphone, you want 3G speeds minimum. Even doing something very simple and common like getting Facebook updates via 2G is going to be painful.

        If you buy this phone to use on the Telstra network you’ve got more money than sense.

        The Nexus One got a 850Mhz 3G capable version 3 months after the initial launch, lets keep our fingers crossed for a slightly earlier update for the Nexus S – especially as Samsung already have several Galaxy S devices that work in that band.

  3. Neither has Nexus One, if you don’t count Vodafone’s lame attempt at selling limited quantity of left-over stocks. Like most other Nexus One owners in Australia, people will just go and buy Nexus S on eBay or US directly. After all it is a developer phone — giving you a glimpse of that is coming next year :)

  4. Disagree with Chris. The newer Telstra plans have been worthy of consideration, particularly with the half price data plan special that was on recently. Much better coverage allowing me to use my data plan is better than dark ages coverage with other telcos and unable to make use of data plan.

  5. Renai, GSM means 2G.

    To figure out if a phone supports NextG, you need to look for 850 in the WCDMA/UMTS box of the specs sheet.

    Yes, the Nexus S supports the 3Telstra network that’s in capital cities, but Telstra have announced plans to shut that down.

    So after that, you’d be left with somewhat less coverage and much slower Internet. Assuming Telstra don’t switch off 2G as well.

    I certainly wouldn’t buy a phone that couldn’t do NextG if I was on Telstra. Which I am. :-)

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