Google CEO Eric Schmidt took the stage at the Web 2.0 conference today, holding a phone that looks a lot like the rumored Nexus S phone from Samsung, running Android 2.3. Schmidt says the next-generation operating system will be available within the next few weeks, and he listed a few of the features baked into the OS (and the Nexus S smartphone), including support for Near Field Communication (NFC) and RFID technology lalowing you to make mobile payments from your phone — essentially turning your phone into a credit card.

It’s likely that Gingerbread will be made available first on the Samsung Nexus S phone, which looks set to pick up where the HTC/Google Nexus One left off. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the company starts rolling out updates for the Nexus One soon as well. It’s still the company’s official developer phone.

In related news, Schmidt made it clear that Google sees Android as an operating system designed primarily for touchscreen devices such as phones and eventually tablets, while the company’s upcoming Chrome OS will be aimed primarily at laptops and other computers with keyboards… at least for now.

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...