Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

Big deal: The Nexus S.
Credit: Google.

Google just released a new phone, the Nexus S, and I’m sure that when I see it I’ll say, “So what?” After all, I’ve got the Samsung FlipShot. Features? Oh, it’s got plenty of features. How about speed dial, speaker phone and a 3, count ‘em, 3 megapixel camera? Plus, my FlipShot cost me exactly $0 with a two-year contract.

That’s right: I have never seen any reason to drop hundreds on a phone just because it can recommend a good sushi place. But I do have an open mind, so I thought I would take a look at the Nexus S and just see what all the hype is about.

Some basics: The Nexus S has a 4-inch full color screen with contour display. Big deal. My FlipShot’s 1-inch, mostly color screen both shows me who’s calling and lets me practice my squinting.

The Nexus sports a 5 megapixel camera and also shoots HD video. Okay, fine, I suppose that would be two megapixels and one D better than what I have now. But I already can get pictures or video from my phone to the Web. All I have to do is send them to a proprietary Verizon Web page called my Pix Place, then e-mail them from there to my personal e-mail, then download those pictures into my iPhoto. It’s a simple process that I can easily accomplish if I clear my afternoon schedule.

Okay, Nexus, what else you got? Well, there’s 75 percent less glare on the screen when you go outside. That is pretty good. I would like to be able to see who’s calling without having to duck into the nearest public building or unsuspecting private residence. There’s also a GPS with voice activated search and live traffic that’s like having a Garmin inside your phone. Not too shabby. It would definitely help me not get lost when I’m driving around searching for a decent sushi place. What else… It’s got Gingerbread, the newest Android operating system that allows you to run multiple apps at a time. That’s … uh … actually pretty cool. I guess that means you, or maybe even I, could be playing a game, pause it to e-mail someone about how awesome I am at preventing hordes of zombies from eating the plants, then go back to saving those plants. Man, I love that game.

And it looks like this thing has a 1 gigahertz processor. Yikes. That’s fast. I need to check, but that might be faster than my six-year-old laptop. (I also need to check that my laptop isn’t actually nine years old.) Okay, now this is crazy: the Nexus S is equipped with something called Near Field Communication or NFC, which is the ability to read data from objects that have smart NFC chips in them and then process the information. Hmm … Did I mention my phone has voice mail? OK, so the Nexus S has a few interesting features but apart from being an HD-shooting, GPS-capable, multi-tasking phone that can read, this thing is worthless.

Fine. You know what? This phone is cool. No, strike that. The phone is super cool. Ridiculously cool. I’ll admit it: I feel really silly having a phone that people think is my 2-year-old’s chew toy. But I’ve committed pretty hard to being the person who isn’t swayed by innovative features that everyone loves and are really useful. So even in the face of such an impressive piece of technology I pledge to stand my ground, to resist the temptation to join the contented and well connected. I swear to you that I WILL NOT BUY THE GOOGLE NEXUS S!!! Mainly because I’m on Verizon and I really want one of those sweet Droid X’s that look like R2D2. Now that would be awesome.

Peter Grosz is a writer and actor in Los Angeles. He won Emmy awards in 2008 and 2010 for his writing for The Colbert Report and has appeared on NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.


4 comments. Share your thoughts »

Tagged: Communications

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me