The Google Nexus Q is a product I think will be dead on arrival, only in the houses of the Google ecosystem diehard. It seems like a second attempt at the Google TV idea, but less functional. In fact I’m not sure what the point of it is. If you want to see specs and less opinion, jump on over to ArsTechnica for their story. Here are my reasons for thinking the above (and I’m not the only one, Leo Laporte during his live coverage said as much):
Price: This shocked me when I read rumors on the price, but it was even worse when they confirmed it. The device doesn’t seemingly do any more than an Apple TV or Roku box would; yet it is three times as much? Granted it has a small amplifier in it, and a decent quality one is not cheap, but who needs that? If I am integrating it into an existing home theater I will use my speakers and amp that I already own.
Functionality: What does this box offer that the cheaper Google TV boxes don’t now? Why would I pay three times as much for the Vizio box that can browse the net, watch YouTube, and play games through OnLive? Trust me, the social features are not worth a two hundred dollar price premium. And how does an internet-centric company like Google not have a web browser in it?
Everything is streamed: This also seems to fly in the face of the world we live in. With bandwidth limits being more the norm now, why would you not stream media that is local, via a tablet or phone, instead of streaming from the Internet? If I wasted two gigabytes of bandwidth to download a movie once to my PC or tablet, I don’t want to spend another two to watch it on my orb. Granted the idea of streaming a movie that I licensed at my friends house is nice, it seems impractical more often than not.
Social: Google seems to be so target fixated on integrating social into stuff that it misses the point. If I am hosting a party, I don’t want people at the party just changing the music whenever they like. We have all been at parties where “DJ Wars” start and you go from classic rock to hip hop and back. It drives people insane. It seems like an idea where everyone said “this would be a cool idea” and forgot about their one or two friends who are dicks.
Aesthetics: Besides the über-geek, who will enjoy the design? It is definitely and homage to the Deathstar, and will look out of place in almost every home. And for a device that is supposed to be hooked up to your “nicest” TV, where the hell will it fit.
This product just seems like it is more of an R&D item than an actual product. Some of the ideas and concepts are neat, but I fail to see where it fits in on a day-to-day basis. And for that price, it better be something used daily. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think this is Google’s version of the Apple HiFi.