The world gets its first taste of Android 2.3 aka Gingerbread today when the Samsung-made Google-inspired Nexus S smartphone goes on sale in the US today.

The phone, built on a Samsung Galaxy S base, is the first phone in the world to run the new version of Google’s mobile operating system.

While the phone itself comes with 16GB of internal storage, the lack of external storage is an odd step backwards for Samsung.

The phone itself features a four-inch Super AMOLED panel with 480×800-pixel resolution and runs the same 1GHz Samsung Hummingbird processor found inside the Galaxy S.

It also comes with new NFC – near-field communication – which allows the phone to swap information with another NFC-ready phone by simply being in close proximity: no physical connection is required, making it simple and easy to swap business details.

AMOLED display panels are in high demand at the moment, exceeding supply and Samsung has incorporated the latest Super AMOLED panel into its latest phone.

The difference between AMOLED and Super AMOLED is that Super AMOLED panels have only two layers with the top-glass and the touch-panel layers combined into one and the AMOLEDs in the other. The benefit of Super AMOLED technology is that it’s said to be easier to see in bright light whereas AMOLED panels can look washed out.

Apple’s iPhone uses IPS (in-plane switching) LCD technology.

AMOLEDs have two general advantages over LCD – first, they have much better contrast because its a direct light producing technology rather than a light transmissive tech – that means the OLEDs produce the light whereas LCD panel light is produced by a backlight that is controlled by the LCD panel.

The other advantage is that AMOLEDs have better battery life, particularly on darker screens. To produce black on an AMOLED, you just turn it off so there’s no current draw. It doesn’t matter whether you have black or white pixel, you always have battery drain happening on any LCD panel because of the backlight power.

But we digress.

Samsung’s Nexus S will be available today from Best Buy stores. The phone will be available on two-year contract with $199 upfront or available unlocked outright for $529. And if you have an existing plan, you can tack on a Nexus S for $249.

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