With Sony's NSZ-GS7 Internet Player and Vizio's Co-Star, this week has been a big one for Android-based media streamers. Not to be outdone, Google has announced its Nexus Q media-streaming device at its I/O conference. The device, which is powered by an OMAP4460 processor, is something Google hopes will change the way people share their entertainment in the home. Nexus Q will stream HD movies, YouTube clips, music and Google TV content from the cloud.
The Nexus Q was unveiled at the keynote that opened Google I/O by Joe Britt, Google's engineering director, who called it a, “a cloud connected jukebox where everyone brings their own music to the party.” The device will stream content from Google Play Music, Movies and TV, and YouTube, to devices connected to your home Wi-Fi network or wired to the unit's HDMI or digital audio ports.
This isn't revolutionary, but the main new claim to fame for the Nexus Q will be the way you and your friends can actively control the playlist as a social group. Gone will be sole control of what is being played, as the person with the CD player or TV remote lords it over everyone else. Instead, the device can be controlled via any Android powered smartphone or tablet.
Anyone within range of your Wi-Fi network will be able to actively engage with your playlist, calling up content from the cloud to create "social playlists." Britt added, “with the Google Play cloud resource you are always carrying your entire digital library with you and now with the Nexus Q you can play that library anywhere,” - assuming all your friends also have Android devices and/or a Nexus Q.
The spherical unit includes a 25 W amp for powering a couple of bookshelf speakers or can be plugged directly into your existing home A/V set up. The unit has 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of flash memory, but don't think of that memory as storage for content as Google is stressing the importance of streaming content from online sources.
The Nexus Q is nicely presented and has 32 RBG LEDs that help the machine glow with a stream of circling multicolored light that changes in time with the music. This could be cool or distracting depending on the type of content you're enjoying at the time.
Connectivity options include Micro HDMI (Type D), TOSLink Optical audio (S/PDIF), Ethernet, Banana jack speaker output, and a Micro AB USB, but this is apparently only for service and support, not the connection of external HDDs or other peripherals.
Google plans to release the Nexus Q mid July, 2012, for US$299.
Here's a brief video from Google explaining the Nexus Q's features.