Nexus S, the Latest Google Phone, Makes Nice With Its Environment

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Get excited, phone nerds: Samsung and Google's new Nexus S, the first smartphone supporting the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) mobile operating system, arrives December 16th, and it features what's known as near field communications (NFC) wireless technology, a speedy 1Ghz Hummingbird processor and a strikingly crisp and bright 4-inch curved AMOLED screen. The bottom line: this gadget could change the way music and movie fans interact with their entertainment.

NFC technology, which Europe and Asia already has, lets you read short-range information from objects, posters and printed materials embedded with compatible chips. Concert and theatergoers could theoretically use it to pay for tickets without standing in line (or tapping germ-infested kiosks), while record store shoppers could buy new CDs without facing snooty clerks. Future uses may include letting users beam up exclusive songs available only at specific events (e.g. summer festivals), instantly retrieve info on favorite artists from album packaging or grab exclusive behind-the-scenes videos right from souvenir programs.

If sensor-swiping NFC features take off, in a few years discovering new songs and artists may be as easy as scanning the ads on your morning subway commute.