The project is now live and there are two smartphones in space on the ISS helping with operations, but picking the right phone and preparing it for its journey was not a trivial task. Interestingly, after looking at the HTC Nexus One, the team decided to skip on it and actually use the next generation Samsung Nexus S. Here is why:
"We knew of other projects that were using the Nexus One, and HTC had done some interesting things in that phone that didn't make it ideal for us. It has to do with [HTC's] battery technology—it has to be a proprietary battery or it won’t boot up,” Mark Micire, research scientist and project lead of the Intelligent Robotics Group at Nasa said.
The battery requirement has a lot to do with they way batteries crash. Conventional alkaline batteries leakage is much easier to contain and that’s one of the modifications the NASA team did for the Nexus S - it made it run on them.
Ultimately, the Human Exploration and Telerobotics Project (HET) behind all that showed its respect for the big achievement that Android is saying “you just get so much that comes for free with the platform.”
"We made the right decision by going with Android because the ability to remove the lithium battery and have it run off of alkaline batteries I think would have been a lot more difficult with the Apple products... and having it work without a driver under Windows XP … It’s humbling to say that even NASA can’t outrun the advancements that are happening with the mobile phone,” said Micire.
source: Ars Technica