Google announced today that it will be launching the Nexus S smartphone later this month and will be the first device to ship with Gingerbread, the latest version of Google's Android operating system.

Faster than the original Nexus One smartphone, hardware features of the Nexus S smartphone include: a 1 GHz Hummingbird processor, a 4 inch Super AMOLED 480×800 touchscreen, front and rear facing cameras, gyroscope, accelerometer, GPS, proximity sensor, haptic feedback, light sensor, Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity and 16 GB of internal flash memory.

The Nexus S can also function as a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to six portable devices such as laptops or tablets.

Gingerbread, aka Android V2.3, should make the new device even more attractive to potential buyers thanks to numerous new features including: a refined user interface; a redesigned software keyboard which Google says has been optimized for faster text input and editing; improved power management and a new camera application which lets the user access both cameras on the device.

Program wise, the Nexus S will come with a full suite of Google applications (Calendar, Gmail, Google Earth, Google Maps with Navigation, Google Search, Google Talk, Google Voice, YouTube) as well as have access to over 100,000 apps on the Android Market.

The Nexus S will be available in the United States after December 16th. The unlocked version will sell for $529 USD unlocked or for $199 USD with a two-year T-Mobile USA contract. No word yet on retail availability in Canada.

Discuss the Nexus S in Digital Home's Wireless forum .