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Google CEO Flashes Android Device, Talks 'Gingerbread

Speaking at the Web 2.0 Summit, Google CEO Eric Schmidt briefly revealed an Android handset with the ability to make mobile payments.

One the first day of the Web 2.0 Summit, Schmidt sat down for a fireside chat-esque session with John Batelle. In the early moments of the discussion, Schmidt pulled out a Android smartphone and demonstrated some of its capabilities.

The unnamed device is capable of being able to "bump for everything" -- which includes making payments. The operating system has built-in support for near-field communications payments. NFC entails a small radio tucked in a device that is linked to a credit card or other account. When it comes in close proximity or contact with a reader, it be used to pay for goods. Schmidt also noted that the NFC functionality could be used for features other than making payments, and alluded to using NFC to aid search.

"You'll be able to take these mobile device and you'll be able to walk into a store and do commerce and figure out where you are with your permission," Schmidt said. "It could eventually literally replace your credit card."

What is this mystery handset that he used? Schmidt didn't say. He did joke, however, that, "There would never be a Nexus Two" Android phone. HTC made a device for Google called the Nexus One. It was released early this year, and has served as the official developer device for Android and Googlers.

The manufacturer logo of the device used by Schmidt at the Web 2.0 Summit was taped over, but the hardware strongly resembles the Samsung-made Nexus S handset that was leaked last week. Schmidt didn't say that there wouldn't be a Nexus S device.

Interested in more features of Android 2.3 Gingerbread? Sadly, Schmidt didn't go into detail. He did say, however, that Android 2.3 Gingerbread would become available within the next few weeks.

What that likely means is that Google will deliver the base code for the operating system and the associated software development kit to developers, carriers, and handset makers. In other words, don't expect any Android 2.3 devices to hit the market before Black Friday. (Or, heck, before the December holidays.)

The rest of Schmidt's remarks covered a range of topics, including Facebook, privacy, search, Google TV, acquisitions, staffing and more.

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