It’s December. Stockings are hung by the chimney with care and the aroma of Gingerbread floats through the air. Please pardon the hokey take on that classic piece of holiday imagery, but if you are a follower of all things Google, then you know the debut of Google’s Android 2.3 OS (cheerfully referred to as “Gingerbread”) is here!

The first Google phone running the Gingerbread OS, the Nexus S manufactured by Samsung  will be available through Best Buy in the United States. This distribution method marks a departure from the approach taken for the Nexus One phone. In my estimation, this will address some of the concerns expressed by consumers who felt that the on-line buying experience of the Nexus One left plenty to be desired. But that’s another story altogether.

The real buzz about this device isn’t the distribution model, it’s the Gingerbread OS. One of the interesting tricks performed by the Nexus S is the use of Near Field Communication (NFC) capability. NFC enables short-range communication allowing the device to “read” radio tags – imagine them embedded on standard promotional posters and other items that occupy our everyday lives – and also engage with proximity payment systems like those offered by Master Card and Visa.

Does the release of the Nexus S mark the beginning of a trend? Can we expect to see the introduction of more devices with NFC capabilities? As mobile technology continues to blur the lines between communication, entertainment and commerce, there is no telling where this may lead!

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