Skip to Content

Bah, Humbug, Nexus S

Google’s new phone has nothing for me—though I guess it couldn’t hurt to take a look.
December 15, 2010

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.

Big deal: The Nexus S.
Credit: Google.

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.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

This new data poisoning tool lets artists fight back against generative AI

The tool, called Nightshade, messes up training data in ways that could cause serious damage to image-generating AI models. 

Everything you need to know about artificial wombs

Artificial wombs are nearing human trials. But the goal is to save the littlest preemies, not replace the uterus.

Rogue superintelligence and merging with machines: Inside the mind of OpenAI’s chief scientist

An exclusive conversation with Ilya Sutskever on his fears for the future of AI and why they’ve made him change the focus of his life’s work.

Data analytics reveal real business value

Sophisticated analytics tools mine insights from data, optimizing operational processes across the enterprise.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.