Available unlocked from T-Mobile next Thursday, this Google-branded smartphone is being billed as the lead device for Android 2.3 code-named "Gingerbread," kinda the showcase for the mobile operating system, if you will.

Co-developed by Google and Samsung, the Nexus S has succeeded the now discontinued Nexus One handset. It’s powered by a 1 GHz Cortex-A8 Hummingbird processor with 512MB RAM, comes with 16GB of storage, and runs Android 2.3.

Google has outlined more features on the Nexus S page. The stuff worth mentioning includes a four-inch Super AMOLED display at 800×480 pixels called Contour Display that Google says is designed to "fit comfortably in the palm of your hand and along the side of your face." 

There’s also a three-axis gyroscope sensor, five-megapixel camera on the back, forward-facing camera for video calling, microUSB connector, and 1500mAH Lithium Ion battery that provides six hours of talk time and 428 hours of standby. 

Another great enhancement is the addition of NFC [near field communication] circuitry that lets the phone read information from NFC-tagged products, from stickers to T-shirts. Google says Android 2.3 makes possible new features like true multitasking, Internet calling via VoIP and SIP, NFC support, WiFi hotspot, and full web browsing.

Other Android 2.3 features include gyroscope sensor support, improved copy and paste functionality, as well as a new keyboard and text selection tool. 

And because Google is behind the Nexus S, you’re guaranteed to get Android software updates as soon as they become available without having to wait for the carrier to customize it.

The search firm also re-iterated in the announcement blog post that over a hundred Android devices are now available since the first Android phone arrived in November 2008. They also maintain that more than 200,000 Android devices are activated each day around the globe.

The Nexus S will be available unlocked after December 16 from T-Mobile in the US, contract-free or subsidized with an obligatory service plan. Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile stores in the US will carry the phone after December 20th, with Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy retailers offering Nexus S in the UK. 

For the first impressions of the Nexus S, check out full TechCrunch review of Nexus S.

Source: Google’s Nexus S page