Samsung Nexus Two may debut soon

According to one report, Samsung will announce the Nexus Two at a press event on November 8.

If you're waiting for a phone that runs stock Android in the way Google intended, Samsung may soon have a Nexus Two for you, according to Android and Me.

Citing multiple anonymous sources, the site says Samsung will announce the Nexus Two at a press event on November 8. Regardless of the rumor, the press event is definitely happening; Samsung Mobile has sent invitations regarding "the unveiling of a new Android device" on that date.

Other details on the supposed Nexus Two are scarce. The phone will reportedly be available on multiple carriers, like the Galaxy S. According to the rumor, the phone will ship with Android 2.3, or Gingerbread, coinciding with reports that Android 3.0 is not the next major OS version.

The rumor seems credible enough to at least wait and see what gets announced on November 8, but given the Nexus One's history, the devil is in the details.Google launched the Nexus One in January as a pure Android handset (also known as a Google experience phone). It had no custom user interface, and no carrier bloatware. But at the time, the Nexus One was most interesting for its business model. Instead of selling directly through carriers, Google opened its own online store, where, in theory, customers could get the phone for any wireless provider.

It didn't work out that way. Only T-Mobile subsidized the Nexus One, and Google soon discontinued the phone and turned its online store into a showcase for all Android handsets. Working with carriers proved more fruitful for Google than trying to disrupt them.

Meanwhile, Android phones have become a mess of custom user interfaces and carrier bloatware, and the Galaxy S is the perfect example. Each carrier loaded up the phone with apps you can't easily remove, and Verizon's Fascinate even replaced all Google search features with Bing. The hardware was great, but Samsung's TouchWiz interface is, to quote PC World's Ginny Mies, "overdone."

Now more than ever, Android needs a phone that goes back to the basics, and Samsung is a likely candidate for manufacturer. Motorola, after dabbling in the Google experience with the original Droid, has since loaded the Droid X and Droid 2 with its own interface, and HTC seems content to keep shipping phones with Sense. If Samsung dropped TouchWiz and somehow released a phone that isn't tainted by carriers, it would get a lot of positive buzz and could be the Android phone to beat, assuming that carriers offer subsidies.

I don't know whether any of that will happen, but I agree with Android and Me's assessment: If you're considering an Android phone, you might as well wait to find out.

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Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
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