Sprint recently announced that they are going to sell the Nexus S, and that it will be "Pure Google", implying that there will not be any additional carrier fluff on the device. I am considering buying the phone, but I'm hoping others who already have the Nexus S or Nexus One can tell me a little bit about what to expect.

  • Are the updates timely? With my HTC Hero, I found that I had to wait a long time for updates for the OS, and eventually it stopped receiving updates, leading me to install Cyanogenmod for Froyo/Gingerbread. Will I be getting updates for new versions of Android almost as soon as Google releases it?
  • Can I tether? I'm assuming that if this is "Pure Google", it will not have restrictions on it such as grayed out tethering buttons. Is that a valid assumption? Or do I need to root the phone? If I root, do I still get OTA updates? This segues to the next question..
  • What can I not do without root access? I understand that if I want to install a different boot loader or Cyanogenmod or something, I need root access. But if we're looking at day to day activities, is there functionality that I will be missing without root access?

And any other factual comments about things I may not have considered that's materially different from running a carrier-fluffed phone would be greatly appreciated!

  • By virtue of the fact that the carrier isn't adding their own modifications to the phone, I think you can expect to get OS updates before anyone else.
    – ale
    Commented Apr 22, 2011 at 12:27

1 Answer 1


I have a Nexus S for T-Mobile, and I've enjoyed it so far.

  1. There's only been one update for the Nexus S so far, to 2.3.3. I didn't get it the first day, so I installed it myself.
  2. Unless Sprint turns it off, you should be able to tether. I can both over Wifi and USB.
  3. I have never needed to root, and I'm a rather advanced Android user. You can unlock the bootloader without doing anything fancy on the Nexus S.

I truly enjoy having a clean phone. There are a few apps installed by Google that I can't remove (with root you can), but they don't bug me much. It doesn't have the load of crapware that most carriers apply, and it definitely does not have the various awful custom UIs manufacturers feel they need to add.

It runs fast for everything I do, including some light gaming; I generally wait till I'm at my PC to game, but it plays Angry Birds and Robot Unicorn Attack just fine.


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