Cutting through the Nexus Two rumors

Android and mobile sites have been buzzing with whispers of a Google-branded follow-up to the Nexus One.

Nexus Two rendering Gizmodo

The Android rumor mill kicked into overdrive last week with chatter of a Nexus One follow-up. According to the latest dish, Samsung will be making what's been unofficially dubbed the "Nexus Two."

The first signs of the handset came October 26 when City A.M. claimed there would be a new Google-branded device out in time for the holidays. Then, a few days later, AndroidAndMe reported what could be the hardware specifications of the phone. Today, however, Samsung denied that such a phone is coming. So, realistically, what are we to expect?

Remember the Nexus One
As you probably know, one of the biggest reasons for the early demise of the Nexus One was its distribution model. Without the ability to walk into a store to play with the phone, potential customers were unable to evaluate the handset's interface and how it felt in hand.

This problem could be solved if, as City A.M. reports, the Nexus Two is sold through Carphone Warehouse in the United Kingdom and its partner Best Buy in the United States. Using a big-box retailer certainly would let customers get hands-on experience with the phone before buying.

Gingerbread
City A.M.'s article also mentioned that the Google device would run Gingerbread , the latest version of Android. The timing on this rumor is particularly interesting.

At its headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., Google recently placed a giant gingerbread man on the lawn where it has placed likenesses of previous versions of the platform. And anyone who follows Android closely knows that the arrival of a big "dessert" at the Googleplex is followed closely by an announcement of a new build of Android. With only two months remaining in the year, there isn't much time to waste if a Gingerbread-based phone is going to be released.

Samsung's story
Despite its denial, is Samsung offering any clues? Though the company has scheduled a November 8 event where it will unveil a new Android smartphone, Sammy will more likely debut its new dual-screen Continuum smartphone. On the bottom of its main display, the Continuum will feature a second display called a "ticker." Indeed, the event's invitation shows a ticker graphic.

Mobile blog PhoneArena also is reporting that the Continuum will launch across all Verizon channels on November 11, only three days after the Samsung announcement in New York. On the other hand, AndroidAndMe believes Samsung might pull a bait-and-switch and announce the "Nexus Two" instead. Personally, I find this tough to believe, but that's not to say AndroidAndMe doesn't have credible sources.

On the inside and outside
Two days later, AndroidAndMe posted what it believes to be the final hardware specs of the Nexus Two. Among the details are a 1.2GHz processor, 512MB RAM, 16GB internal storage, and a 4-inch AMOLED display. Other features, including the 5-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS, make me think of today's Galaxy S series phones.

Aside from the faster processor, it matches up nicely with the likes of the Vibrant and the Captivate. So what makes this potential phone so special? In a word, Gingerbread. The next release of Android should focus on aesthetics and have a new, cleaner interface with more polish. Add to the fact that it's a plain, vanilla version of Android and you have the attention of purists and developers alike.

As for a design, a Gizmodo reader claims to have spent some time playing with the phone last week and described it as a Galaxy S-like phone but with a concave screen and tapered profile. Other elements should include a 4-inch AMOLED display and the standard Android touch controls.

Looking ahead
So after all of this, where do we stand with this Nexus Two? I'd put my money on a Samsung phone that bears the hardware listed above. It's not so far-fetched to think Samsung doesn't want to push the Galaxy S series forward with faster processors and the latest version of Android. What's more, Motorola and HTC have shared in launching a new build of the platform, so why can't Samsung?

I'm still unsure whether it will really come through a Best Buy and Carphone Warehouse exclusive deal. All things considered, though, I think that the Nexus Two exists in some capacity and that it will be announced shortly.

Does anyone else find it ironic that Samsung's November 8 announcement may only be the unveiling of a new dual-screen Android phone?

 

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