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Google finally spills about Nexus S; Video touted to be rumored PlayStation phone

by Phil Hornshaw

Google’s (GOOG) Nexus One successor, the Nexus S, will take its place as the new king of the Androids as early as next week.

The follow-up phone to the Nexus One will run the latest version of Google’s Android OS, version 2.3 or “Gingerbread,” and is co-developed by Samsung (005930.KS). It sports a 4-inch screen, plus a 1 gigahertz processor, 16 gigabytes of flash memory, a front-facing camera, and a five-megapixel rear camera with high-definition video shooting capabilities, according to VentureBeat.

The big feature that Nexus S will carry from Gingerbread, in addition to support for front-facing cameras, is near-field communication technology. This is a scanning technology that allows phones to catch signals from nearby tags from posters and signs, allowing the phone to read the tag when it comes in proximity to it. You’ll be able to retrieve information from ads automatically with your phone, for example, as well as make in-person purchases in stores using the technology, without the need for a credit card.

Gingerbread also includes a new keyboard and some user interface improvements, and Gingerbread phones will be able to incorporate gyroscopes like the iPhone 4.

In the US, you can snag an unlocked Nexus S from a Best Buy store for $529, or for $199 with a T-Mobile (DTEGY.PK) contract on Dec. 16. In the UK, you’ll have to wait until Dec. 20, with the phone available at Best Buy (BBY) and Carphone Warehouse (CPW.L).

PlayStation Phone Sighted Again

Engadget has video it touts is the Sony “Zeus Z1,” the Sony (SNE) Ericsson PlayStation phone we keep hearing rumors about.

The video, which you can view here, shows the phone’s slide-out game pad (in place of a keyboard), plus a dedicated PlayStation app on the phone’s home screen. It’s apparently running Gingerbread, as well.

But if you’ve been hearing the PSP phone being likened to the Loch Ness Monster or Big Foot, it’s not far from the truth. Like blurry footage of the fabled North American ape, the video doesn’t tell us much, and the idea that this phone will be a replacement or even a real participant in Sony’s portable gaming business has been questioned by the Wall Street Journal.

Sony and Sony Ericsson execs haven’t quite confirmed the existence of the phone, but they’re certainly not denying it -- as is apparent from this quote from Sony Ericsson CEO Bert Nordberg:

“There’s a lot of smoke, and I tell you there must be a fire somewhere. Sony has an extremely strong offering in the gaming market, and that's very interesting.”

So nothing substantial, although the video is pretty compelling, and it would definitely be nice to have a real-live game pad to tackle some of these Android and iOS games that use virtual touchscreen controls. Expect to hear more about the Zeus Z1 in a couple months: Sony Ericsson has said it plans to make a lot of “noise” at the Mobile World Congress in February.