What happened to Google's Nexus Q?

What happened to Google's Nexus Q?

Summary: Google withdraws its Android-based social streaming media player while it works on "on making it even better."

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TOPICS: Google, Android
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Google's Nexus Q was unveiled last month at Google's I/O conference and immediately was offered for pre-order in the Google Play store alongside the Nexus 7 tablet.

But the Android-based social streaming media player has now been removed from sale and those who pre-ordered informed that they are receiving a free "preview" device.

What went wrong?

While Google remains tight-lipped, only saying that it has been decided to "postpone the consumer launch of Nexus Q while we work on making it even better," I can probably take a punt as to why. 

It strangled itself on its price tag.

When the Nexus Q was unveiled, I was surprised by the price tag that Google had attached to this device -- a whopping $299 -- plus another $399 for the speakers and an insane $49 for a pair of cables to connect the overpriced device to even more overpriced speakers.

Back on the day the Nexus Q was announced, I wrote:

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.

The Nexus Q has -- or should that be had? -- quite an impressive hardware spec. It ran Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" and sported an OMAP 4460 dual-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU with an SGX540 graphics core, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of flash memory storage. It also had 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 featured Bluetooth, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n and near-field communications (NFC).

One thing it didn't come with was a remote control. For that you needed an Android smartphone or tablet.

For visual effect, the device also featured 32 RGB perimeter LEDs and a single RGB LED that acts as a mute indicator. It supported apps such as Google Play Music, Google Play Movies and TV, and, of course, YouTube.

Problem is, as impressive as the hardware specs were, it's essentially little more than an Apple TV aimed at Android users, and the Apple TV sells for a fraction of what Google was asking for the Nexus Q. What made it seem even more overpriced was the fact that it was announced alongside the Nexus 7 tablet which started at $199.  

Google made a big deal about the fact that the Nexus Q was designed and manufactured in the U.S., including a number of the device's crucial semiconductor components, but not even this justified the considerable price tag.

My bet is that if we ever see the Nexus Q offered again, it's the price that Google will have made better. And it had better be substantially better.

That said, good on Google for giving those who pre-ordered the overpriced black orb a free unit. If they were willing to take a chance on the $200 device, they deserve the freebie.

Topics: Google, Android

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9 comments
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  • My sources...

    My sources inside the company tell me it wasn't round enough.
    dsf3g
    • actually

      it was so rounded that it infringed on Apple's round thingies patents
      markbn
  • It was also restrictive

    Google Play is a fine service, but users want the ability to use Netflix, etc., on their device too. Making it a completely locked-down device didn't make sense. Why would I pay three times as much as a Roku for 1/10th of the functionality? Hardware specs aside, it doesn't make sense.
    skyledavisbooks
    • Roku

      I was just about to post about my Roku. For under 80 bucks I picked one up and get Amazing quality though hulu, netflix, amazon, and have access to plenty of other content. I haven't played around much with playing movies from a usb storage device but there is a channel (app) for that as well. There is also an app you have to pay in order to stream content from a PC but that is something I have little faith in at this point. All in all, when I did my research, the only practical purchase for me was the Roku.
      hashref
  • This is why you don't see many gadgets made in USA

    You complained about the price like 5 times. They can drop the price if they either increase automation or manufacture overseas.
    sharkboyjohn
    • I do not support that supposition.

      There are many things manufactured in the United States that are of comparable features and price to foreign made products.

      The price here, I will speculate, was likely high due to Google wanting to make a large profit margin per unit, to offset the low number of sales they expected, as other have noted that it is so limited in functionality, that many could not see any reason to purchase the product.
      Tim Cook
      • Four things wrong with your comments...

        First off...

        If the device had been manufactured overseas, chances are that Google's cost of manufacturing would have been less, therefore, allowing them to charge less for the devices.

        Secondly...

        Since Google would have saved money by manufacturing overseas, they might have had a high profit margin without having to price the devices so high to compensate for the high-cost of manufacturing in the U.S.

        Thirdly...

        When good and practical devices introduced to market, they're should not be priced so high because they expect few sales. That is not marketing that gets a company noticed, nor its device. That's marketing that gets a company into trouble, and its device completely cancelled from production.

        Fourthly...

        No company should ever put out a device to market with an expected deficiency in functionality. That's another marketing and economics 101 mistake.

        From your observations, it would seem that, Google is being run by some high-school graduates who only took one economics class during those four years.

        The whole device and expectations, would seem to indicate that, Google execs are pretty naive. But, it's more like Google using its marketing tactic of, "throw as many things at the wall as you can, and hopefully, something will stick". The Nexus Q is one of those things that bounded from the wall, and will likely be shelved completely, or repackaged.
        adornoe
  • Puzzling

    I can buy 3 Apple TV's for the same price I would pay for one Nexus Q (without the speaker). What were they thinking?

    I don't know anyone who would want to purchase this beta device. Early reviewers said it was too buggy and had lots of functionality gaps.
    dave95.
  • General Lack of Interest

    I really hope Google didn't plan on seeing these getting bought up like crazy.
    I mean, why would the average user even WANT one of these?
    Most people with TV have internet, and that bundle costs a hundred bucks a month, tops.
    ...and all you need for that is a TV and a computer.

    The Nexus isn't even appealing,
    not at all.
    it's a novelty item.
    NexusSloth