The Nexus Q is Google's $US299 cloud-streaming orb. It's only for Google Play and YouTube. Plus, it has trippy flashing lights and looks like an alien weapon. But is it any good?
At its core, this is orb Android accessory. It's designed to be controlled by your phone or tablet, which talks to the Nexus Q via Bluetooth. The Nexus Q pulls all its content from the internet via your home Wi-Fi network, and then you control it from your couch, using your phone as the remote. It only works with Google-owned services: Google Play, Google Music, and the new Google Play TV as well as YouTube. The device plugs into your AV receiver, HDTV or directly into speakers.
Several facets of the Nexus Q's design are based on interesting observations about music — even if the solutions are somewhat odd. It has a weird spherical design and nightclub lights because Google thinks music can also be a visual experience. Another interesting observation is that listening to music is an isolating experience. That's where the "social" part comes in. Google wants your to sit around in your living room making playlists of songs and videos with your friends.
The Nexus strongly resembles the Project Tungsten streamer we saw at last year's Google I/O. The conceptual hardware was an Android-based media device that's plugged into every room of your house. The promise: Sonos-like control your music plus media streamer-like access to streaming services. Now we finally know more about Google's plans for your entertainment.
Other features? The Nexus Q has a built-in, 25W amp, which is enough power to drive a couple of small speakers. This little globe of streaming content is tiny: It's just 4.6 inches in diameter and weighs just 907g. It carries 1GB of RAM, 16GB of flash memory, and it has the same processor as the new Nexus tablet.
Google is also selling its own accessories for the Nexus Q. The Triad bookshelf speakers are supposedly specifically optimized for the Nexus Q. They've got a one-inch tweeter and a 6.5-inch subwoofer. Only $US400! Oh, and there are even special Nexus Q speaker cables.