What the Nexus S means for Canada.

I’ve had mine for about two weeks now, but instead of writing another review of a device that’s been available since last December in the US & UK I’m thinking about the bigger picture for potential customers in Canada. There are three big reasons why I think the Nexus S is so important…

1. Near ubiquity.

Not since the JesusPhone has a single device been available on so many carriers — seven, at my last count:

Notably absent from this list is Bell Canada and their resellers. Here in Toronto I’ve seen a lot of advertising for the Bell-branded Motorola Atrix; it’s entirely possible that Bell passed on the NS entirely as per the terms of some secret agreement with Moto.

2. Factory unlocked.

The wide release of the Nexus S is more than just a marketing coup for Android — this is the first time that an unlocked handset has been available from so many carriers. Because of incompatible radio bands you won’t be able to use your Nexus on every Canadian networks, but you will absolutely be able to circumvent roaming charges abroad with a local SIM card. That’s a huge win for us.

There are, however, the continuing shenanigans of carriers offering hardware subsidies in exchange for multi-year contracts. Buyer beware.

3. Near field communication.

The NS is also, to my knowledge, the first available handset in this country with NFC capabilities onboard. With such a wide deployment the convenience of mobile commerce, already a part of daily life in Japan, is one step closer to arriving here.

I’m not naive enough to think I’ll be able to swipe my Nexus across a TTC turnstile anytime soon; I’m just saying that the opportunity is there for any Canadian business that wants to take it.

To sum up, Google’s flagship Android handset for 2011 offers Canadians copious amounts of freedom and potential right out of the box. And for those reasons alone it’s the best phone Canadian dollars can buy — for the moment, at least.