Yesterday Google announced several new gadgets, including the Nexus Q -- a spherical device meant to act as a bridge between the music and video content on Android mobile devices and home entertainment systems. The device "may be the last stereo appliance you buy for your home entertainment system," writes Lifehacker (here). But web radio listeners may "find the Q wanting."
Basically, users can stream music and video wirelessly from Android devices to speakers and TVs via the Nexus Q. Google calls is "the first social streaming player," offering an example use where friends hanging out together can build a collaborative playlist wirelessly from their separate Android devices.
Additionally, a single Android device can control multiple Nexus Qs, "turning it into a multi-room solution," notes the Verge (here). That would put it in direct competition with other home entertainment systems like Sonos, not to mention Apple's own AirPlay service (RAIN coverage here). However, the Nexus Q is currently rather crippled.
"Unfortunately the device appears to be limited to Google Play media at the moment [meaning only content from Play Music, Play Movies, etc.] so fans of Netflix, Hulu, and Spotify" -- not to mention Pandora, iHeartRadio and other web radio apps -- "may find the Q wanting." That said, it's not unreasonable to expect that limitation will be removed in the future.
(Though Evolver.fm notes that the Nexus Q does sport Bluetooth. "This should mean that you’ll be able to beam music from any app on any smartphone," writes Eliot Van Buskirk, here.)
Additionally, the Nexus Q costs $300 (it's notably built in the U.S.). That makes it a pretty pricey device when compared to competing devices like the $99 Apple TV and $180 Boxee Box.
Though "a handsome piece of gear," writes the Verge (here), "the Q seems to be nothing more than — if you'll excuse the comparison — a hobby rather than a device that brings innovative functionality."
Google also revealed its own 7" Android tablet yesterday -- the Nexus 7 (pictured right). Google stressed the device's media consumption abilities: Movies, books, apps, games and music. The Nexus 7 will cost $200 and should only help put tablets in more consumers' hands.