At the Google I/O developers conference this week, the company released details about one of their latest toys, the Nexus Q. Available at retailers later this summer, the Q is a slick-looking sphere that streams media. The glowing orb appears to be Google’s answer to Apple TV.
Controllable with an app on an Android phone or tablet, the Q can play music or video on nearby TVs or on it’s own. The major selling point is the Q’s social component. When you’re hosting the next rave in your living room, the Q allows anyone to mix up and add to the party’s playlist using their phone.
However, while the sleek Q looks pretty cool on a shelf, its high price point and limited capabilities make it a poor choice for most media junkies. At least, that’s the case for now.
With the Q, Google is definitely headed in the right direction. At last year’s conference, the company excited many with their plan for total home automation. This concept has not fruited much actual production in the past year, and it is possible the idea has more-or-less died. The Q may be the first step, though. Even though controlling music or TV with a phone is not wildly new or innovative, maybe soon we’ll be microwaving, garbage-disposing and vacuuming using Android devices.
On its own, the Q still looks awesome and avoids the clunky remotes and TV menus that Apple TV requires. The social component is something new and potentially the Q’s outstanding feature (although some reviewers claim the feature is wanting in execution). As opposed to laboring over a party’s playlist the day before, technology-inclined hosts can just let the guests go crazy on Google Play.
With a $299 price tag (at least initially), the Q is far too expensive for the average funky party-thrower. The Q also lacks a major selling point of Apple TV: third-party media. Right now, it’s unclear whether the Q will stream Netflix, Hulu, Spotify or any of the other myriad apps and services available on Apple TV or Roku.
Eventually (if the price goes down), Google’s crystal ball may find its way into the average living room. It only makes sense that soon the Q will be able to stream third party services. Besides the Q’s aesthetic, though, it leaves quite a lot to be desired. I won’t be early-adopting anytime soon.