Google staff to get free Nexus S handsets

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There have always been perks to working for much-hyped global technology giant Google: Great food, 20 percent time to work on your own projects and an incredibly relaxed but innovative and work environment.

And now there’s one more, for the hard-working Googlers scattered around the globe: A free Nexus S handset running the company’s latest Android operating system.

Word has come from within the company that it is planning to give each of its employees one of the Nexus S handsets, which Google this week started selling in the US and the UK, although it is not yet clear whether the rollout will be truly global or limited to certain countries such as Australia.

The mass internal roll-out of the Nexus S within Google is not unexpected — the company is reported to have conducted a similar internal deployment of the HTC Dream handset when the device, one of the first Android handsets, launched in late 2008, and earlier this year, Google is reported to have given all of its Indian employees a Nexus One, the self-branded handset it launched this year in partnership with HTC.

However, Australian employees may have to wait a little for their Nexus S.

The current batch of Nexus S smartphones is listed as supporting the 900Mhz and 2100MHz bands used by Vodafone and Optus in Australia for 3G mobile reception, but not the 850MHz spectrum used by Telstra, although the phone does support the 850MHz spectrum for voice and slower data speeds.

For this or other reasons, Google Australia staff have been told their Nexus S handsets won’t be ready until the first quarter of 2011 because the devices hadn’t yet been ‘certified’ for Australia.

Neither Samsung nor Google has confirmed plans to bring the Nexus S to Australia for general consumption, although both the HTC Dream and the Nexus One were sold locally, but Samsung has said it was currently reviewing its options on how to bring the device to market locally and looked forward to sharing more details “at a later stage”.

The phones — manufactured by Samsung — have been hailed by gadget blogs Gizmodo and Engadget as the current top model in Android phones.

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.

However, unlike its competitors, the Nexus S runs the latest Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) operating system, which adds features such as 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.

It also features a slightly curved screen designed to fit to a users’ head in a more comfortable fashion than the traditional flat screens of other mobile devices.

Image credit: Google

12 COMMENTS

  1. “although the phone does support the 850MHz spectrum for voice and slower data speeds”

    All Australian 2G networks run on 900 MHz/1800 MHz.

    • OK, but from what I understand the phone will run on Next G — but just won’t do HSPA — is that accurate? I thought 3G was an evolution of GSM, ie 2G?

  2. But yes, it supports Telstra 2G on 900 MHz and 1800 MHz.

    (The reason NextG uses 850 MHz is that the old CDMA network used to use that, and Telstra wanted to re-use those frequencies. 850 MHz 2G is for parts of the world where the old analog frequencies were re-used for GSM.)

    • *throws hands in air*

      Every time I try to write anything about spectrum I get people complaining I haven’t got it quite right. But if I make it too technical then a lot of people don’t understand what actual network I’m writing about ;)

      *sigh*

      • :-)

        It’s a hard one. Lots of different frequencies and technologies, and then companies go and add marketing names too.

        Just wait till we get LTE! Then we’ll have to deal with 700 vs 1800 vs whatever, plus LTE versus LTE Advanced, plus 4G versus, er, 4G. Along with all the existing networks during the transition period. :->

  3. “OK, but from what I understand the phone will run on Next G — but just won’t do HSPA — is that accurate?”

    No!

    HSPA is like EDGE.

    EDGE made 2G (GSM) go faster.
    HSPA makes 3G (UMTS/W-CMDA) go faster.

    For it to work on NextG, the spec sheet would have to say “HSPA: 850 MHz” or “UMTS: 850 MHz” or “WCDMA 850 MHz”.

    • OK, but this isn’t technically inaccurate then:

      “The current batch of Nexus S smartphones is listed as supporting the 900Mhz and 2100MHz bands used by Vodafone and Optus in Australia for 3G mobile reception, but not the 850MHz spectrum used by Telstra, although the phone does support the 850MHz spectrum for voice and slower data speeds.”

      It’s just that it’s not capable of connecting to Next G for those voice and slower data speeds. Right?

      • The simplest change you could make would be
        OLD
        “although the phone does support the 850MHz spectrum for voice and slower data speeds.”
        NEW 1
        “although the phone does support the 900 MHz spectrum for voice and slower data speeds.”
        NEW 2
        “although the phone does support Telstra 2G on the 900 MHz band for voice and slower data speeds.”

        But note that Telstra also uses some 2100 MHz 3G towers due to their joint venture with Hutchison, so Telstra customers will get 3G most places in most capital cities for the near future. On some phones, it shows up as “3Telstra” rather than “Telstra” when you are connected to one of those towers. But Telstra announced they will stop using the 2100 MHz towers some time in 2012.

        Yes, it’s complicated.

  4. 1st quarter 2011.. Could this mean that the nexus s may come in a UMTS 850/1900/2100 MHz.. AT&T version.. Eg.. for Telstra Next G.. The Nexus One is a dream to use on Telstra Next G, Can’t wait to get hot out of the oven Gigerbread on the N1 :)

  5. I’m currently using a (Google) Nexus S on Telstra in Australia. The phone connects well to the 2,100Mhz 3Telstra network at 3G HSDPA and to the Telstra Mobile 850Mhz Edge network (which actually provides really zippy performance)

    I’ve heard that a UMTS 850Mhz version is being tested for release in March ’11 or thereabouts.

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