If you're itching to get your hands on an Android device and save some coin, today is the day to head over to your nearest Best Buy -- or shop at its web site. The retailer, which aims to be a major player in the smartphone retail channel, is giving away a Nexus S smartphone to all comers who activate the device at the store (or order online) and agree to a two-year voice and data plan with AT&T, T-Mobile or Sprint Nextel.
Response seems to be heavy: When we called Best Buy's dedicated Nexus S helpline at midday Eastern time, a recording warned of a wait time of more than 20 minutes.
The smartphone, made by Samsung, is not available from Verizon Wireless, unlike the South Korean manufacturer's flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S, which has variants on all four major U.S. carriers.
The T-Mobile, GSM-compatible version of the Nexus S is also available without a contract for $529.
Not in AT&T Stores
Best Buy and Samsung raised some eyebrows late last month when they did an end run around AT&T in offering the Nexus S for that carrier only at Best Buy stores. A spokesperson for Samsung Telecommunications America said there was no plan to have the nation's second-largest carrier sell the device directly, as do T-Mobile and Sprint.
The Nexus S has a four-inch Super AMOLED screen with pinch-to-zoom capability and 480x800 resolution; a gyroscope sensor; a 1500mAh lithium-ion battery promising 6.5 hours of talk time; A one-gigahertz Hummingbird processor with multitasking; five-megapixel rear-facing and VGA front-facing cameras; 720x480 video capture; 16GB of storage; and a hot-spot mode for tethering Wi-Fi devices. It's also capable of making payments through the emerging technology of Near Field Communication.
The T-Mobile and AT&T versions run on 3G networks, but the Sprint edition accesses its WiMAX 4G service.
The phone has generally been well received by critics, though PC Magazine noted that the Sprint version has slower-than-expected download speeds.
Reflection on Sales?
The Nexus S became available in December for T-Mobile, in May for Sprint, and last month for AT&T. The first Nexus device, made by HTC for Google, was a sales disaster. The giveaway seems to suggest that Best Buy is trying to spur interest in the device in a busy season of new phone releases and as polls show a large share of the market holding out for Apple's next iPhone.
But analyst Gerry Purdy of Mobiletrax said it probably has more to do with getting consumers to think of Best Buy as a place for new phone activations, not just big-screen TVs and computers.
"It's a mechanism to get sales diverted to the store rather than through the carrier," said Purdy. "The product is sold off-carrier, so it stands to reason they would be promoting that."
Posted: 2011-08-09 @ 4:54am PT
I dont want a phone plan. I have had too many isues with phones not getting service where I used to have service! I dont trust the phone companies anymore! They are getting too greedy!
Posted: 2011-08-03 @ 3:50pm PT
@wo: It's a one-day deal, just today, Wednesday, Aug 3.
Posted: 2011-08-03 @ 3:30pm PT