It only took about seven months, but Google’s Nexus S smartphone is finally getting support for AT&T’s network and a big fat subsidy to boot.
Starting July 24, you can get the Nexus S, with untainted Android 2.3, at Best Buy for $99.99 with a two-year contract. The phone has a 4-inch gently-curved display, 1 GHz processor, 5-megapixel rear camera, a front-facing camera and 16 GB of storage.
Strangely, as TechCrunch‘s Greg Kumparak points out, AT&T doesn’t appear to be involved with the launch. The carrier isn’t selling the phone directly, and Samsung’s press release doesn’t have any of the usual fawning quotes from AT&T executives. Sounds like Samsung worked out a deal with Best Buy to get an AT&T-optimized phone subsidized at least.
As with its brethren on T-Mobile and Sprint, the AT&T Nexus S runs a pure version of the Android software–meaning no superfluous software modifications by phone makers–with no pre-installed, carrier bloatware that can’t be removed. In its heyday back in December, it was the best Android phone around.
Of course, that was seven months ago, and plenty of new phones have emerged with beefier processors, faster network connections and better cameras. AT&T, for instance, sells the Motorola Atrix 4G, which packs a dual-core processor and support for AT&T’s HSPA+ network, and we’re hearing that Samsung’s coveted Galaxy S II will launch in the U.S. next month.
The Nexus S stands apart from these phones because of its pure Android experience, but even that may soon be outdated. Google is rumored to launch a new Nexus phone, possibly called the “Nexus Prime,” this fall with an updated version of Android codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich. If you need the latest and greatest smartphone, I suggest waiting a month or longer. But if you need a pure Google experience right now, and have only $100 to burn, Best Buy will be waiting for you on Sunday.