Best Buy to Carry Exclusive Google Smart Phone

The Nexus S hits Best Buy stores and the company's Web site on December 16.

Richfield-based Best Buy Company, Inc., will be the only retailer in the United States to carry a new Google smart phone.

The Nexus S, which Google co-developed with Samsung, will go on sale December 16-exclusively in Best Buy stores and on The smart phone will sell for $199 with a two-year T-Mobile service agreement, or $529 without a contract.

The Nexus S will run on Google's mobile operating system, Android, and will be the first to run Gingerbread-which the company touts as the fastest version of Android yet. Besides building on old features such as multi-tasking and the ability to turn the phone into a Wi-Fi hotspot, the new operating system will incorporate an improved keyboard and support near-field communication-a short-range wireless communication technology.

Other features include voice-to-text transcription, voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation for drivers, front- and rear-facing cameras, and the ability to make phone calls over the Internet, similar to using software programs like Skype.

“We have invested a lot of time and resources to ensure people get the smart phone and support that's right for them, and we expect to see significant consumer excitement focused on Nexus S,” Mike Vitelli, president of the Americas for Best Buy, said in a statement. “We couldn't be more excited to partner with Google and Samsung to launch this phone in time for the holidays.”

The Nexus S is Google's second flagship phone, following the Nexus One, which was manufactured by Taiwan's HTC.

Best Buy's mobile department has 157 specialty stores around the country selling phones and accessories. Best Buy Mobile now offers more than 20 Android phones across all four major networks-AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile. Best Buy is Minnesota's third-largest public company based on revenue, which exceeded $49 billion in the most recent fiscal year.