Google just dug deeper into the home entertainment hardware arena (after initially getting their foot in with the Google TV) by unveiling the Nexus Q. Described as the “world’s first social streaming media player”, the tiny ball is basically a media streaming device that allows users to stream music and movies wirelessly from their phones and play them with a set of speakers or an HDTV.
Users can control the Nexus Q using an Android phone or tablet running on Android 2.3 or later with the Google Play Music/Movies/TV app. The “social” part comes into play when more Android users hook up to the local Wi-fi network: multiple Android users on the network can add media files from their devices to the existing playlist queue (which is probably where “Q” part comes in), letting everyone pitch in with their own favorites. And in case you’re afraid someone’s going to troll the party’s hard rock playlist by lining up their favorite Michael Learns to Rock track, you can turn off the guest mode to turn off the public access.
Despite the small dimensions – the Nexus Q measures only 4.6 inches in diameter – it has enough connections for hooking up with just about anything. The rear ports include a micro HDMI connector, S/PDIF optical audio port, speaker outputs, and an Ethernet port for wired internet. Wireless connectivity features include Wi-fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth and NFC.
The top of the dome features a volume control and a capacitive touch sensor for mute, while the perimeter is highlighted by a LED light that can be set to change colors in time to the beat. Under the shell, the Nexus Q features a 25W class D amplifier, a dual-core ARM processor and an SGX540 graphics, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of flash memory for storage. The device itself runs on Android 4.0.
The Nexus Q is currently available to pre-order from the Google Play Store for $300 (ouch), and is set to start shipping in July.