(AP) -- The new Nexus S smart phone can do something older Android devices can't: make payments.
Nexus S, from Samsung Electronics Co., is the first phone to run the latest version of Google's Android software and has a feature called Near Field Communication.
With it, someone can wave the phone near a bar code or sensor to make payments in much the same way people can already swipe a security card to enter a building. If enough vendors make it possible to pay for things this way, people could begin using their phone to pay instead pulling out a wallet with credit cards.
The software also has a new on-screen keyboard and makes it easy to place phone calls over the Internet, something people can already do from a PC using software programs such as Skype.
The phones will be available through Best Buy Co. Inc. stores starting Dec. 16. People can either sign up for a two-year contact with T-Mobile USA Inc. and pay $199 for the phone, or forgo a contact and pay $529 for just the device.
Carphone Warehouse retailers will sell the phone in the U.K. starting Dec. 20.
Following in the footsteps of other supersized smart phones announced this year, the S has a fast 1-gigahertz processor for relatively fast operating speeds and a large, 4-inch screen that claims vibrant colors and wide viewing angles. Other features include a 5-megapixel camera that also records high-definition movies, a GPS radio for navigating directions, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 16 gigabytes of internal memory for storing music, photos and apps.
About a year ago, Google unveiled another Nexus phone, dubbed the Nexus One, made by HTC Corp. This, too, was eligible for T-Mobile's service plans and was the first to run what was then the latest version of Android: 2.1. What made that phone exemplary, though, was that it was the first phone for sale in Google's now defunct online phone store, through which Google sold a variety of Android smart phones.
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