Google has officially launched the latest version of its Android platform, Android 2.3 Gingerbread, along with the first phone to ship with the new operating system, the Google Nexus S by Samsung. As we just saw with the release of the software development kit, Gingerbread adds a number of welcome features, including native VoIP support, improved keyboard and text selection, better copy/paste, and NFC compatibility for contact-less payment — all skinned in a refreshed user interface.
The T-Mobile-compatible device, which begins shipping from Best Buy in the US on December 16th, is powered by a 1GHz Hummingbird processor and features a four-inch contoured Super-AMOLED display as well as front (five-megapixel) and rear cameras, 512MB of RAM, and 16GB internal storage. Since Google worked directly with Samsung on the project, NFC hardware has also been included to take advantage of the new Gingerbread functionality, as well a three-axis gyroscope, another sensor added to refreshed platform. Connectivity-wise, you’ve got 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, and 7.2MBps HSDPA cellular broadband.
UK consumers can expect the Nexus S to hit Best Buy and Carphone Warehouse (just as the very first rumor suggested) on December 20th. Pricing has not yet been given for either of the launch countries.
Update: Best Buy has revealed the price points in its press release: $199 on contract, $529 unlocked.