Nexus S will ship by end of 2010, Google says

Nexus S is expected to be available at Best Buy – or directly through Google – by the middle of December.

Nexus S – shown here at left – is the latest handset in the Google Nexus smartphone line.

Nexus S – the latest handset in the Google Nexus line – will hit store shelves by the middle of this month putting the Nexus S right in the thick of the holiday buying scrum. The Samsung-built Nexus S appears to be a full-featured machine: The handset will get a 4-inch Super AMOLED display, a 1GHz Hummingbird processor, a pair of cameras, an NFC reader, and Google's Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" OS.

Interested? You've got a couple options. Beginning on Dec. 16, you can pay $199 for a T-Mobile subsidized version of the Nexus S at Best-Buy, but you'll have to sign up for a voice and data plan. Also at Best Buy – or directly through Google – you'll be able to purchase an unlocked Nexus S for $529, and then fit the thing out with your own SIM card.

"The very first Android phone hit the market in November 2008," Google exec Andy Rubin wrote in a blog post today. "Just over two years later, Android’s vision of openness has spurred the development of more than 100 different Android devices. Today, more than 200,000 Android devices are activated daily worldwide. The volume and variety of Android devices continues to surpass our wildest expectations – but we’re not slowing down."

The Nexus One – the predecessor to the Nexus S – received a warm reception from critics when it launched in January, but sales were markedly tepid, even after Google began offering the handset in selected retail outlets. (The Nexus One was originally available only online, through the Google Web Store.) In July, Google pulled the plug on the Nexus One completely. Since then, the phone has apparently had a pretty stellar after-life.

Would you consider dropping your iPhone or Droid for a Nexus S? Drop us a line in the comments section below.

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