Retailers gear up for smarter Nexus mobile launch

Samsung's Nexus S phone, based on the latest version of Google's Android software, goes on sale this month in the UK and US through Best Buy and Carphone Warehouse.

The retailers said they would be the exclusive sellers in those two markets of the Nexus S, which supports a technology that lets people use their handsets instead of credit cards for payments. They will take pre- orders from Monday.

Google's Android software has rapidly overtaken Apple and BlackBerry to become the second-most popular platform worldwide after Nokia's Symbian, and the most popular in North America and east Asia.

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Offered free to mobile phone sellers since coming to market two years ago, Android has helped fuel a boom in the smartphone market, which is expected to double this year to about 340 million units, although it has helped drive prices down.

The Nexus S will include a "near-field" communications chip, which allows consumers to pay for items by tapping the phone against a special terminal.

The previous flagship Google Android phone, the Nexus One, was made by Taiwan's HTC. Samsung has also produced a tablet computer based on Android, the Galaxy Tab.