Sprint Gets its Google Phone with the Nexus S 4G

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Google’s flagship Android phone has finally landed on Sprint as the Nexus S 4G. It went on sale over the weekend for $200 through Sprint and $150 at Best Buy.

Announced at the CTIA conference in March, the Nexus S 4G is similar to the model that launched on T-Mobile in December, but with support for Sprint’s WiMax 4G network. The Sprint version also allows for full Google Voice integration, bringing call screening, call forwarding, personalized greetings and visual voicemail to the user’s existing Sprint phone number.

The phone, built by Samsung, has a 1 GHz processor, a 4-inch screen with gently curved glass, front- and rear-facing cameras and built-in near-field communications for whenever smartphone-based payments become a reality. There’s 16 GB of storage on board, but no microSD slot for expandable storage.

But the main attraction is software. The Nexus S runs Android 2.3, which features improvements to the virtual keyboard, copy-and-paste and battery life. It’s also the only version of Android to support Google Talk with voice and video chat. And unlike most other Android phones, the Nexus S contains no carrier bloatware or user interface tweaks from phone makers.

As nice as the Nexus S 4G sounds, it won’t be on the cutting edge for long. Google is holding a big developer conference this week, where the company may discuss the next major version of Android. If Google announces new hardware to match, it could be worth waiting for.