William Gibson, the science fiction writer, could have been envisioning Google's Mountain View headquar-ters when he said: "The future is already here - it's just not very evenly distributed."
The Googleplex is where a lot of the future is currently stacked up - from experiments with driverless cars to support for robots on the moon.
Google products have names inspired by sci-fi - the Nexus One phone using its Android operating system refers to the Nexus-6 androids in the film Blade Runner. A successor, the Nexus S, has just come out along with another piece of hardware - the CR-48 notebook, which sounds like a cross between R2-D2 and C-3PO, the robots in Star Wars. In fact, it stands for ...view middle of the document...
Upgraded apps timed for its release include YouTube, which I found more responsive and fun to use than in my web browser. Settings for the 5Mp camera are more sophisticated and accessible, and there is better support for making internet calls and an improved on-screen keyboard experience.
The Nexus S is made by Samsung - the original Nexus One was an HTC handset - and features the won-derful brightness of colours of its Super Amoled (active matrix organic light emitting diode) slightly curved 4in screen. It feels light for its size, has good battery life, excellent call quality and is very responsive with its fast 1Ghz processor. The Nexus S is on sale at Best Buy in the US ($529, $200 with a T-Mobile contract) and is available in Europe from Monday (free on a long-term contract, or for £550 without a contract, at Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy stores in the UK).
Like its predecessor, the Nexus S is "pure Google" - designed to Google's specifications and as a showcase for its latest, greatest version of Android. It lacks the interface layers and features that handset makers and operators have added to Android on other handsets to make up for its shortcomings against the iPhone, which still handles music, video and games much better.
This makes it hard to get excited about the Nexus S - it is an excellent smartphone, but it lacks a defining feature that would make it stand out from the growing Android crowd.
The same could be said of the CR-48 laptop - an ordinary black box of a notebook - but thenit is meant to be a plain-looking machine for testing purposes only. However, the keyboard is one element of the design that is likely to appear in the two Chrome notebooks that Acer and Samsung are expected to launch in mid-2011.
The Caps Lock key has been re¬placed with a...