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.