Samsung's Nexus S has found support from the leading U.S. wireless carrier, as AT&T (NYSE:T) will begin selling the Google-centric Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" handset July 24 for $99.99 with a two-year contract.
AT&T will sell its Nexus S through Best Buy, Best Buy Mobile specialty stores and the BestBuy.com Mobile Website, where users may preorder it now.
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) launched its first Nexus S smartphone from T-Mobile for $199.99 last December. Sprint rolled out a 4G Nexus S model in May for $199.99 before cutting the price in half to $99.99 last week.
The device has a 4-inch, contoured Super AMOLED (Super active-matrix organic LED) display powered by a 1GHz Samsung processor, along with the full complement of Google mobile applications but without the carrier bloatware AT&T and others have become accustomed to putting on handsets they sell.
The smartphone also has a 5-megapixel camera in the rear and a VGA camera in front for video chat. Perhaps, most importantly for some users, the Nexus S is equipped with NFC (near field communication) technology.
This chip, along with the native NFC tag-reading support in Gingerbread, will enable it to work with the Google Wallet mobile-payment service.
Google wants as many consumers to snap up Nexus S smartphones equipped with NFC capabilities so that users will have the opportunity to use Wallet when it launches in New York and San Francisco this summer.
NFC-based mobile payments are building momentum, with Wallet and the Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile-backed ISIS launching this week.
Gartner said the number of worldwide mobile payment users will surpass 141.1 million in 2011, a 38.2 percent increase from 2010.
Moreover, the research firm projects that worldwide mobile payment volume will hit $86.1 billion, up 75.9 percent from 2010 volume of $48.9 billion.
Google hopes the bulk of these users are using Android smartphones such as the Nexus S in conjunction with Google Wallet to purchase goods from retailers.