I have to confess, I’m baffled by Google’s new Nexus Q. I’m not lucky enough to have one myself, but everything I’ve seen indicates that it’s a well-engineered, expensive, one-trick pony. And it might not even be that good at its one trick (http://goo.gl/NJU3V).
Why isn’t it a Google TV device? Or better yet, why isn’t it the first “Google AV” device, marking the next step in GTV’s evolution: from just TV to full-on home media. The hardware could be identical*, the software very similar – but it’d be able to play any media, from any source, not just the tightly-restricted source list of the current Q. *And* it’d have access to the Google Play app store, meaning that average users could install a plenitude of other apps on it too. [From what I hear, the only way to install new apps on the Q is via ADB.]
And while the Q’s social-media trick is a good one, I have no doubt that it itself is just an app, running on the Q’s underlying Android OS. Which means that *the same app* could run on any compatible Google AV box. Or any other Android device, for that matter… you could run it on your own phone or tablet, with the output routed through bluetooth speakers, and get the same Q functionality with zero additional hardware cost.
Had it gone this route, the Q could’ve been a big win for Google, breathing new life into the floundering Google TV ecosystem with compelling new functionality, and providing it with a Nexus reference device to boot. Instead, it looks suspiciously like a dead end.
Maybe it’s not too late. I’d expect that the existing GTV OS would just run on the Q, so given that it won’t hit the public for another few weeks, Google probably still has time to make this change. Not that I think they will, but I’ll bet they could.
*As good as the hardware apparently is, though, any home media component *really* needs to be stackable.