Google Nexus Q: $299 streaming media player

Google calls the Nexus Q "the first social streaming media player," but at $299 -- plus another $399 for the speakers and an insane $49 for a pair of cables -- I doubt it will take off.

Google has unveiled a new home media server called Nexus Q at its developer conference in San Francisco.

Google calls the Nexus Q "the first social streaming media player," which essentially means that it functions as a cloud-connected jukebox.

The black, spherical orb can be used as an amp to power speakers, hooked up to an HDMI-ready TV, and is controllable from any Android device running Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" or higher.

According to Google the Nexus Q is a derivative of "Project Tungsten", the company's home automation division. The device measures 4.6-inches in diameter, and weighs a hefty two pounds. The device itself has only a single control -- a volume control feature activated by twisting the upper dome part of the device.

Internally, the Nexus Q runs Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" and sports an OMAP 4460 dual-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU with an SGX540 graphics core, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of flash memory storage.

The Nexus Q has a full complement of ports, including Micro HDMI, TOSLink optical audio, Ethernet, and speaker jack connectors, along with a single micro USB port that Google says is for "service and support only". It also features Bluetooth, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n and near-field communications (NFC).

For visual effect the device features 32 RGB perimeter LEDs and a single RGB LED that acts as a mute indicator.

The Nexus Q supports apps such as Google Play Music, Google Play Movies and TV, and, of course, YouTube.

The New York Times reports that the Nexus Q was designed and manufactured in the U.S., including a number of the of the device's crucial semiconductor components.

Google is also offering accessories to go with the Nexus Q in the form of a pair of bookshelf speakers for an incredible $399, and two speaker cables for an eye-watering $49.

The Nexus Q is priced at $299 and will ship next month.

First impressions are that the Nexus Q is both weak compared to the Apple TV and terribly overpriced, in particular the accessories. While the Nexus 7 tablet has a shot at going mainstream, I have serious doubts that the Nexus Q will take off.



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