The biggest surprise announced at Google I/O event, Nexus Q, is a “social streaming media player, which will bring the home multimedia experience to a whole new level.
For the time being Nexus Q is exclusively available in US, where it will be launched mid July, with a price of $299. At first sight, its design is impressive: a black sphere, interactive LEDs, flattened on the bottom end, so it won’d roll off your table.
What is it hiding underneath the excellent design? Not mach. Google Nexus Q seems to aim exclusively the Android device owners, while its functionality is limited by the Google services.
Nexus Q can stream directly from Google Play Music, Google Play TV & Movies or from Youtube and it can be used as audio amplifier.
Once powered on, the LED illuminates the black sphere, while the small shiny dot can be pressed to “Mute” the device. Nexus Q is underpinned by a dual-core TI OMAP CPU, has 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal flash storage and is currently running on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
The WiFi dual-band 802.11n connectivity is doubled by NFC and Bluetooth, and Nexus Q features microUSB, micro HDMI ports and audio out for the audio amplifier.
Nexus Q doesn’t have a remote control, which might be a problem for the families where not all the members own an Android-powered smartphone or tablet.
After all the cables are connected, which can be a pretty difficult job judging by the gadget’s shape, Nexus Q connects to your Android device via Bluetooth and to your TV via the micro HDMI port.
The Nexus Q restrictions can be unpleasant for many customers: the gadget can only stream audio and video content from Google Play and Youtube videos.
When several Android gadgets are connected to Nexus Q, shared playlists can be created, which can make your home multimedia experience pretty enjoyable. Unfortunately, the Google black sphere doesn’t even allow media content streaming from a DLNA server and is not compatible with Google services like Picasa.
Nexus Q does an honorable job when used a 25W audio amplifier, but it looks like it depends on the type of speakers you are using. Google recommends the Triad Bookshelf Speakers which are not less than $400.
Even though it can be used to throw a party, if connected to high-fidelity speakers, Nexus Q can be used as a main amplifier for your living-room, as it is not compatible with top box sets or gaming consoles. Only TV and speakers.
One of the good news about Nexus Q is related to the first hacking, done 24 hours after the official presentation. An Android developer managed to open Swords and Soldiers directly on the Nexus Q, but it’s not playable for the moment.
If Nexus Q becomes compatible with more apps and cloud services, whether Google allows it or hackers find a wait to it, the black sphere, would become a more attractive gadget.