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Summary:

Sprint today announced the Nexus S 4G, with support for Sprint’s WiMAX network, is launching on May 8 for $199 with a two-year contract. Will customers be interested in the new Nexus when dual-core, higher resolution phones are available? They probably will for one key reason.

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The flagship Google Nexus S handset that launched late last year is getting a new wireless radio and carrier. Sprint today announced the Nexus S 4G, with support for Sprint’s WiMAX network, is launching on May 8 for $199 with a two-year contract. The handset, manufactured by Samsung, runs on Android 2.3, the most current version of Google’s smartphone operating system.

Although the handset is running a recent version of Android, demand for the Nexus S 4G may be muted due to the hardware specifications. Unlike many of the newer handsets now arriving, the Nexus S 4G uses a single-core, 1GHz processor from Samsung, doesn’t support high definition video recording and has a display resolution of 800×480 pixels. However, the Nexus S 4G compares favorably with Sprint’s other WiMAX handsets, such as the EVO 4G, EVO Shift 4G and Epic 4G.

There are some features the Nexus S 4G bring to the table over competing Sprint handsets, however. The device includes an NFC, or near field communication, chip which may be used in the future for wireless mobile payments and location-based check-ins. Samsung’s Super AMOLED display offers vibrant colors and the screen is slightly curved for comfort. And being a part of the Nexus line of handsets, the phone is more likely to receive Android updates from Google before other phones receive them. Plus the handset integrates natively with Google Voice, which can be used as a primary phone number on Sprint’s network.

Given that other new phones offer dual-core options and higher resolution screens, my first thought was that Sprint may have a tough time selling the Nexus S. But Sprint customers don’t have any dual-core phones to compare with the Nexus S 4G, so there’s bound to be some that want a pure Google experience on Sprint’s WiMAX network.

  1. I’m really excited to get this phone, and I am perplexed as to why half of the tech news sites talk about the thing like it is already an outdated dinosaur just because it doesn’t have a dual-core processor. Those things are bleeding edge right now, and most existing apps aren’t even programmed to take full advantage of them; not to mention the hit to the battery life this thing would take if it did have one. In any case I don’t know of any dual-core phones thus far with pure, untainted android so you would really be hard-pressed to find a better overall android phone than this one right now.

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    1. Chad, those are fair points. And if the Nexus S 4G meets your personal needs, it’s a great choice. There are definitely consumers that are going to buy what’s available now, not wait for what’s just around the corner. But on the flip-side, there are also people that want the latest and greatest. I’m in the latter camp and you’re in the former – it’s all good!

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      1. You are? (in the latest/greatest camp). I thought you carried a Nexus *one* until very recently.

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        1. I generally am, but haven’t yet found the right handset to replace my Nexus One. Looking on T-Mobile for stock Android, dual-core, ability to support custom ROMs, etc….. thinking the HTC Sensation 4G, which isn’t yet available.

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  2. Kevin – demand may be muted, but I doubt it is because the Nexus-S is not cutting edge hardware. Isn’t its target audience those who want the fastest upgrade path to new Android builds, rather than waiting for Samsung/HTC/Motorola to retrofit their UI enhancements? I think it remains to be seen how big that audience is.

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    1. Good point, and I’m sure there are plenty of reasons that demand may be muted. I can tell you from personal experience, I fall squarely in the target audience you mentioned. But I didn’t upgrade because the hardware fell short of my expectations (and many others in the same camp as me) when compared to other devices.

      Of course, I don’t represent the masses; I’m just speaking for myself. And you’re right, the size of that target audience isn’t all that big. Although everyone outside of the target seems to complain awfully loud while waiting for their Android upgrades. ;)

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