The Nexus S is officially available at Best Buy stores everywhere today, and it’s running the much-anticipated Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Now that we’ve seen everything the new version of the OS offers, as well as the Nexus S, are you as impressed as you thought you’d be?
Not too long ago, I asked if Android 2.3 would meet our expectations, and I’d like to know what your thoughts are. Neither Gingerbread nor the Nexus S are as impressive as they could have been. I can give Gingerbread a bit of a break, as most of the expectations were a result of all the hype surrounding the release, but the Nexus S isn’t as lucky.
The Nexus One was one of the first Android handsets that shipped with a 1GHz processor, easily making it one of the most powerful phones on the market at the time. It was a game changer. On the other hand, the Nexus S is still using Samsung’s Hummingbird processor, which is just “good enough”, and not the leap that we saw with the Nexus One.
I have to wonder what would have been if the Nexus S had actually been put on ice in favor of a dual-core version. We know that Tegra 2 is ready for Android prime-time. LG has just announced their first Tegra 2 Android phone, and we know Samsung may have a large order of Tegra 2 chipsets on order. What would have been if the Nexus S was built around a dual-core?
The omission of the MicroSD card is also frustrating as well, making the user need to directly connect the handset to a computer. This isn’t deal breaker in any way, but I like the option of just throwing my MicroSD card right into the computer without having to go through the phone’s USB connection.
The curved display on the Nexus S is great, and it gives the handset an almost futuristic look. With the Super AMOLED display, it’s a sight to behold. The back cover is a different story. A Samsung specialty, the plastic backing of the device makes it look a bit cheap, a dramatic departure from the Nexus One’s sleek, if somewhat industrial, design. Of course, it wouldn’t be too much fun if all manufacturers had the same eye for design. The plastic does keep the handset lightweight, though, so it does have its redeeming qualities.
The standout feature of the Nexus S is its NFC chip, which has yet to be fully enabled and its full potential unlocked. You don’t just need to have the NFC hardware on the phone, you need others to adopt the technology, which is indeed on the way, but we’ve yet to see any big NFC rollouts in the US. It’s still pretty rare to find QR codes hanging around when all you needed was an application and a camera. How long till we see even the amount of NFC tags as there are QR codes? In its defense, it has to start somewhere. And, the Nexus S is supposed to spark the NFC revolution in the US.
As I said before, the Gingerbread update was a victim of its own hype, so this section will be short. Gingerbread was said to take aim at the user experience, and it does, but it’s hardly compelling enough to say that it makes the idea of a customized UI useless. I can see why HTC has no intentions of killing off their Sense UI any time soon. Gingerbread shows potential with the new APIs, which are great, but Android 2.3 looks to be a slightly themed version of Android 2.2 Froyo more than anything else.
One of the additions within Gingerbread is that a “manage apps” option is now found when you press menu when on your homescreen. Many people may be happy with this subtle addition, but you could have easily created a shortcut for exactly that. Yes, I’m nit-picking.
Ever since Google first showed off the online Android Market, and Google Music, and Google Sync, I’ve been waiting to see them go live. It was hoped that at least one of these features would be baked into Android 2.3. Sadly, we may have to wait for another Android update before we see these bigger features start to get real.
I’m a huge Android fan, and haven’t owned another phone without the OS on it since the G1, but Gingerbread is a big let down in my opinion. Is anyone else as unimpressed, and wanting Honeycomb ASAP?
What’s your take? Vote on the poll below!