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Google Launches the Nexus S — Into Space

Google Launches the Nexus S — Into Space

As Google’s Nexus S hits stores, the technology giant is leaving release-date events primarily in the hands of retailers. While resellers like Best Buy, AT&T, and T-Mobile throw promotional parties, Google itself is launching the product in quite a different way.

Specifically, according to their video released on New Scientist, Google decided that it would be fun to launch the Nexus S into space.

The process was fairly simple. First, Google engineers took a Styrofoam beer cooler and cut out one side, replacing it with a window. Then the Nexus S, along with some additional sensors and cameras, was secured within (with the device pointing out of the created window). All the materials aside from the phone, says one Googler, should come in at under $500. Finally, the entire contraption was attached to a weather balloon, which is let loose, soaring into the sky at a rapid pace.

Seven phones were launched in contraptions just like these, while Google engineers paid attention to feedback from the various sensors within the Nexus S — including the gyroscope, accelerometer, and camera. Most interesting to non-experts are the pictures and video taken of planet earth from near space.

Once at about 100,000 feet, the weather balloons pop, sending the parachuted Nexus S beer cooler back toward the earth. Thanks to horizontal winds at high altitudes, the makeshift spacecraft were blown off course, with devices landing up to 200 miles away. Luckily, the Nexus S phones were set with their GPS active, making them a fair deal easier to recover.

Of the seven devices launched in this manner, six were recovered by the end of the initial reporting from New Science, and the last was retrieved shortly thereafter. Each remained fully functional, despite the exposure to extremely high altitudes and a drop of over 30,000 yards.

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Rob D Young

Rob has been insatiably obsessed with Google, search engine technology, and the trends of the web-based world since he began ... [Read full bio]

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