Google unveiled its latest attempt to infiltrate the digital living room at its I/O conference Wednesday. The spherical Nexus Q streaming media player works by connecting Google Android apps and the consumer's home stereo speakers to create a seamless entertainment experience.
Google calls the Nexus Q a "social streaming media player." The social aspect comes from the Q's integration with Google's media player app for Android devices. A Nexus Q owner can allow other Android devices connected to the same WiFi network to control what music, movies and videos are played.
The Nexus Q is part of a Nexus line of Google-branded devices that includes the Galaxy Nexus smartphone and the Nexus 7 tablet computer. Google TV, Google's other initiative for the digital living room, has been plagued by poor reviews and disappointing sales. But Google TV continues to evolve. Google announced Tuesday that Google TV will soon host all Sirius XM content - including the Howard Stern Show.
The Nexus Q costs $299 at the Google Play store. It has a 4.6-inch diameter, weighs 2 pounds and runs the Android 4.0 operating system. Pre-orders are now being taken and units will ship soon, according to the site. Google has not announced retail or distribution partners that will increase the availability of the device.
The Nexux Q puts Google in direct competition with hardware and software products from Apple, Roku and Sonos. Apple's Apple TV device and Roku's set-top boxes allow people to stream music - as well as movies, TV shows and other video content - through their home theater systems by connecting the TV to the Internet. Sonos is a leading manufacturer of digital music hardware for the living room. Earlier this month the company announced http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/industry/digital-and-mobile/business-matters-sonos-lands-135-million-1007358152.story $135 million in funding from in a round led by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Redpoint Ventures and Elevation Partners.