Google's pricey Nexus Q media streamer made in the USA

$200 tablets and $1,500 glasses weren't the only devices Google revealed during its I/O conference this week. It also debuted the Nexus Q, a "social streaming media player" designed for the living room. Inside the Q's orb-like shell lies the sort of hardware one might expect to find in a modern smartphone. There's a dual-core Texas Instruments OMAP4460 SoC, a gig of RAM, and 16GB of flash storage.

Wireless connectivity options abound, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC. At the back lie Micro HDMI, S/PDIF, Ethernet, and USB ports. The USB port is for "for service and support," though; you probably won't be able to plug in a thumb drive loaded with BitTorrent downloads. You will be able to connect the Q directly to speakers using standard banana jacks. The unit has a 25W amplifier built right in.

We'll let Google explain how it works:

Interesting—and limiting. The Nexus Q runs Android 4.0 and appears to rely exclusively on Google's own services for content. Folks with Android devices will be able to share media with the Q, too, but it doesn't look like you'll be able to stream from the closet file server that holds your MP3 collection. Bummer.

Then there's the price: $300! You can get Zotac's Brazos-powered Zbox Nano AD10 Plus nettop for $35 less at Amazon right now, and that's with a 320GB hard drive and 2GB of RAM.

Why is the Nexus so expensive? It's made in America. As The Verge explains, the Nexus Q is being manufactured in San Jose, California. Google is experimenting with producing devices itself, and the firm hopes people will be willing to pay a little more for something that's made stateside.

Google seems to be gambling on multiple fronts with the Nexus Q, and I'm curious to see how many consumers bite. Given all the outrage over working conditions in the foreign factories churning out iDevices (and just about every other piece of electronics we own), you'd think there would be a long line of customers willing to buy the Q on principle alone.

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