At this year's Google I/O, an interesting little orb called the Nexus Q has just bobbed to the surface. It looks like Mountain View has finally come out with a social streaming media player of their own.
The Nexus Q is a cloud-based device that streams music, video and YouTube videos, and lets users share and create playlists. It also works as an amplifier, allowing users to attach their own speakers or TV to the device, after which it'll push out sound care of a 25-watt amp. In terms of connectivity features, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth and NFC are all onboard, and the orb will sport a capacitive touch sensor for muting audio. Under the hood you'll also find an OMAP 4460 chip, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of local storage.
The Nexus Q is cloud-connected, so you'll be able to use your phone or tablet as the remote to control entertainment in your home. But since you aren't streaming from your phone or tablet, entertainment will be instantaneous. Best of all, Google says it is encouraging "general hackability," in a big departure from other company philosophies.
A true social streaming device, the Nexus Q will let friends trigger songs or video from their own libraries. You can bring your own songs or movies to a friend's house with Google Play, connect to the Q and take control of the listening experience as well as see the queue in real-time.
One strange detail is that the Nexus Q appears to be running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich instead of being doused in the latest Jelly Bean flavor, but we're not one to let that stop us from welcoming this spherical device into our living room space.
What may be prohibitive, however, is the price: The Nexus Q costs $299 and will start shipping in July. But if you must be assured of being part of the first wave of owners, Google is taking pre-orders as soon as today. The Q will be available in the U.S. initially, followed by other countries.