Google's Nexus Q: A failed Apple TV clone

I wanted Google's Nexus Q to be cool, instead it's just another—and not very good—media-extender.

I wanted to like Google TV. The first models really don't work that well. I really wanted to like Google's Nexus Q streaming media player. It was supposed to be a new take on bring Internet video to your TV. It's not. Feh!First, here are the facts. The Nexus Q is a black orb, 4.6 inches in diameter, with a ring of 32 LEDs that “shift and change color in time to your music.” You know I had something like that in the 70s attached to my four-track tape and turntable stereo set. This makes the Nexus Q kind of retro-cool, but I'm not sure it's so cool I'll want to buy one.Related: Five Internet TV cable cutting considerationsNo new Apple TV for you, AirPlay Mirroring insteadInside the device, which in a real shocker contains American-made components, you'll find a OMAP4460 (dual ARM Cortex-A9 CPUs and SGX540 GPU) chipset. This comes with 1GB of RAM and 16GBs of flash memory. It also includes what Google calls an "audiophile-grade" 25-watt amplifier, which "can fill a room with beautiful, clear crisp sound."For an operating system, the Nexus Q uses Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich. o connect to your entertainment center, the Nexus Q has a Micro HDMI (Type D), TOSLink Optical audio (S/PDIF), and banana jack speaker outputs. There's also a micro-USB port, but it's for service, support, and hacking, not say hooking up a hard drive. That's because the Nexus Q, like the modern Apple TV and Roku. Is purely a streaming device. Unlike the Apple TV though you can't use it to stream video from an attached drive or from  your media server.Instead, all you can play on it, for now, is video and music from Google's Play Music, Play Movies and TV, and, of course, YouTube. Netflix? Hulu Plus? Sports? Not here. All your content must be kept in Google's cloud services. There's no way to store any of it locally. To play these, the Nexus Q supports 10/100GB Ethernet. Curiously, it doesn't support Gigabit Ethernet. You can also use 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi. It doesn't, however, support the newest popular wireless standard: 802.11ac. To manage your content you must use, at this time, an application on your Android smartphone or tablet. Google also sees a big selling point as that your friends can also access and control your Nexus Q Google entertainment library from their phones or tablets. I ask, what's wrong with “Could you please pass me the remote?”And how much does this cost? A Nexus Q will run you $299. Most similar media extenders go for about a hundred dollars. Here's the bottom line. I haven't seen a Nexus Q yet. I don't need to. It's a purely streaming device with too high a price tag and minimal Internet video options. I wish it were sensational, but instead it's a total non-starter.            

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