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Samsung Google Nexus S: The shape of Android to come?

So it looks as though the rumoured Google Nexus S, the next flagship Android phone, could be arriving as early as February next year. Based on the recent leaks and rumoured specs it’s shaping up rather nicely, although we do have some concerns.

Here’s some of our initial thoughts on the Nexus S, why we think it could be a worthy successor to the Google Nexus One and where there could be room for improvement.

Note: all specifications and features discussed here are based on rumoured (and therefore unofficial) specs.

Samsung has so far declined to comment on the Nexus S.

Nexus Yes

Large internal storage – Like the Samsung Galaxy S, the Google Nexus S comes with a generous amount of internal memory. High-end Android phones are going to need larger amounts of memory to compete with the iPhone and the new Windows Phone 7 handsets.

Even though Android 2.2 has been live and kicking since July, not every app developer out there has enabled the ‘Install to SD’ function. This means that some Android users who want to download lots of apps are still having to cram everything into small amounts of memory.

MicroSD cards obviously have their advantages but it’s time for Android phone manufacturers to stop relying on them to bulk up paltry internal memory. Smartphones need a decent amount of internal storage.

1080 HD video recording and HD movies – Given that the iPhone 4 and all Windows Phone 7 phones can record HD video at 720p, it makes sense for Samsung to up the camera stakes here. While some smartphones can already play back video in 1080p (aka true HD), we’d like to see the Nexus S able to record in it. This, plus the big Super AMOLED 2 touchscreen and the 16GB of storage, means that HD movies downloaded from Samsung Movies should look a treat on the Nexus S.

Priority on Android updates – There have been many, many delays with the Android 2.2 update for the Samsung Galaxy S. With the Nexus S as a Google flagship phone, we’d expect it to get the same priority on Android updates as the Nexus One currently does.

This would mean that Nexus S owners would be first in line for the eventual Honeycomb and Ice Cream updates. We’d expect them to arrive OTA (over-the-air) as well, so there’ll be no downloading of updates via the PC-only Samsung Kies application.

Nexus No

Battery life – The Google Nexus S will supposedly sport an 8-megapixel camera that can shoot 1080p video, a 1.2 GHz processor and will come with a screen that measures at least 4.3-inches across. We dread to think how the battery performance of this beast is going to fare. Unless Samsung’s Super AMOLED 2 screens turn out to be super energy efficient, we can see ourselves having this bad boy on near permanent charge.

Pretty boring design – If this is a picture of a genuine Nexus S then we’ve got to say we’re disappointed. Design-wise it’s not a huge step up from the Samsung Galaxy S; it has that same speckled effect on the back and the same curved end. Admittedly it’s not the worst-looking phone in the world, but for something that’s meant to be a flagship handset we were expecting more of a head turner. Let’s hope that this is an early prototype and Samsung will come back with a genuinely jaw-dropping design in a couple of months.

Probably won’t have a custom UI – Presumably, like the Nexus One, the Nexus S won’t come with a custom UI installed. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We understand that with Gingerbread, Google is focussing on more on the visual side of things. But if Samsung has been secretly working on an amazing new version of its TouchWiz UI, we probably won’t get to see it on the Nexus S.

Of course these thoughts are all based on rumoured specifications. It’s anyone’s guess what the Google Nexus S will actually end up looking like, if it will be called the Nexus S or if it’ll even come out at all.

But a follow-up to the Google Nexus One is big news. Any word of a new Google flagship phone gives us an indication of what the next generation of high-end Android phones are going to look like. Remember how the specs of the Nexus One and HTC Desire were virtually identical?

There’s lots of interesting things brewing on the Android horizon right now. There’s word of Motorola’s Tegra 2-powered Android phone, plus the ever-persistent rumour of a PSP Phone from Sony Ericsson that’ll run on Android. And now there’s this. Times they are a-changing and all that jazz.

[Image credits: Engadget]


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