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:

Interestingβ€”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.

Comments closed
    • can-a-tuna
    • 7 years ago

    Is that “made in USA” punchline supposed to increase sales?

    • Chrispy_
    • 7 years ago

    The only demographic that this appeals to is people that would already be riding this bandwagon with their own solutions.

    • aceuk
    • 7 years ago

    In theory, could the ‘Q’ run XBMC or Plex?

    • Decelerate
    • 7 years ago

    I hope this is just viewed as another “hobby”, though we know what Google does with hobbies after a while.

    I don’t even understand the shape! How is a ball going to fit in a home entertainment setup? Too much [i<]look at me![/i<].

    • sschaem
    • 7 years ago

    “Why is the Nexus so expensive? It’s made in America” … I lost allot of respect with this statement.

    NO, the reason is because Google is kickstarting this facility and most of the cost is from initial volume ramp up.

    Reality, if this facility ever get the chance to reach peak production efficiency, at most google would spent an extra 10$ per device to have it done locally, so stop perpetuating the idea that because its made in the US the price just doubles.

    The Verge dont seem to understand volume production either and just associate affordable product to ‘made in china’, and if its not made in china , here you go, pay 300$ for a 25watt amp.

    So much BS. The reason things are now built in mexico, china, etc is because of greed.
    How do you improve your spreadsheet ‘instantly’? do your manufacturing oversea with complete disregard to the devastation to the local economy.

    Apple could easily build a state of the art manufacturing plant (assembly really, as they dont really make anything) in north america, for the american market, that produce devices at near china cost.
    Apple device cost is 99% in the parts and material, not labor. So even if labor cost double, your iphone will cost the same.

    Now, most small company cant afford build a large production plant, as the capital investment would be bigger then their potential income, so I totally understand why a small shop wont invest 4 billions to build a “power ranger LCD watch”.
    And no investor will make one in the US because they can be undercut… So the cycle never ends.

    Only the big boys like MS, Google, Apple, .. with cash money by the billion can do it.

    But Apple refusing to invest or even partner with anyone to assemble product destined to the American market in america is repulsive , specially when the excuse is “The US doesn’t have the qualified labor’… Insult after injuries. But instead, left give the CEO a 1 billion $ bonus, he fully deserve it… 100 million would have been just too little.

      • funko
      • 7 years ago

      Have u read this?

      [url<]http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/business/apple-america-and-a-squeezed-middle-class.html?pagewanted=1[/url<] The U.S. and most otehr developed countries have lost the manufacturing technology and ability lead because of the efficiency that can be pulled off with the slave labor (i mean indentured servitutde) of the factory workforces that live in on site dorms. its crazy!

        • nexxcat
        • 7 years ago

        I’m a little dubious. I’m about as liberal commie as they come — healthcare should be affordable, social safety nets should exist, etc. However, it is quite telling that the average wage of the manufacturing jobs in China has risen from average of 58 cents/hr in 2001, to a projected $6/hr in 2015.

        The same article I’ve sourced those numbers also talks about how manufacturing is coming back onshore:

        [url<]http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/new-economy/2012/0510/As-Chinese-wages-rise-US-manufacturers-head-back-home[/url<] The differences appear to be what type of manufacturing is staying in China vs. on-shored or re-shored in the US; it's a good read.

      • entropy13
      • 7 years ago

      Once the US recognizes Apple as a legitimate church/religion, and thus exempting it from corporate taxes, that’s the time they’ll invest in the US.

        • trackerben
        • 7 years ago

        Do you realize that your conception of what religion is (never mind churches) might be different from what is reported in historical and referential texts? “Cult” may be a better descriptor given Apple’s secular commercial culture.

      • sweatshopking
      • 7 years ago

      a lot*

    • XaiaX
    • 7 years ago

    Built in amplifier and volume control?

    Was it designed by Homer Simpson?

    Who has speakers that need amplification but no amp?

    Are they going to market this directly to people with no ability to plan?

    If it really can’t stream from a local source, or simply a hard drive, they’ve lost their mind. Google Play is going to fail soon enough, just like google video and google music did before.

    The most interesting things to be done with this will probably be from people with custom builds of Android that add obvious features like “actually plays the music you already have, just like the 800 other things you own that do that already and are already hooked up to your speakers and television because this is the 21st century and you probably already have an xbox or ps3 or appletv or wdtv . . . “

    • MadManOriginal
    • 7 years ago

    Not much to add to other comments about it being a non-starter except that it’s not just ‘near’ receiver prices, it’s actually the same as on-sale/clearance-because-it’s-last-year’s-model network receivers. Those might not always have built-in internet streaming capabilities but man, this seems overpriced.

    USA ‘manufacture’ can’t cost that much, but maybe it does πŸ™ Also, it’s got to be more like assembly, a country of origin parts percentage breakdown would be interesting to know.

    • Ricardo Dawkins
    • 7 years ago

    Even my DVD-less (thanks daughter) Xbox 360 is worth more than this overpriced thing.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 7 years ago

    DOA, sad πŸ™

    • cynan
    • 7 years ago

    I would happily pay a bit more for devices manufactured in North America. But I wouldn’t even want to pay $200 for the Q. I just can’t imagine many scenarios where it would be useful to share music and video locally across multiple Android devices. Hmmm. Let me think. This might be a neat toy for, say, college students who share a house with multiple mates and want to have a single common interface that they can all play their music on in the common living area… but the utility of the Q even in that scenario is a bit of a stretch.

    If Google was trying to make a statement about encouraging local manufacturing, then why didn’t they do it with their Nexus tablets and charge an extra $50-100 for them? Perhaps it would have cost even more to make the tablets locally making this unfeasible… However, the failure of the Q will just be an excuse to give up such positive initiatives, which is a shame.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 7 years ago

    Seems like to me Google’s doing this so when they kick back to China, they can say, “Well, we tried to do it the American way, but it just didn’t work because of the cost.”

    Look at Intel, AMD, or nVidia. They learned their lesson about “experimenting” on too many fronts at one time on one product. Now they do some things that are safe bets and some things that are experiments on the same product, alternating with generations, hoping to reduce the chance of catastrophic failure.

    This thing would be expensive if it’s $300, even if it were made in China. There’s no way that a drop from American-built would put this thing anywhere close to the price it totally should be to justify itself. I don’t see this thing as better than a $100 AppleTV or a WDTV streamer or anything like that.

    In fact, it seems less capable than the sub-$200 streamers and I think it’d be awesome if the thing only cost $100 less if it were made somewhere other than America. Assuming what I consider best case scenario actually happened, the thing would still be $200 and that’s way too high. Plus, the shape is not something most people are going to want to use regularly and Android doesn’t have the penetration to warrant a specialized device like that of high cost.

    Hell, that costs more than what most people will pay for Android tablets. That’s to say nothing of talking about streamers/tv settops.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      The only thing this has that is uncommon in low-cost streamers is a built-in amp. It’s got to be a class-D amp for the price and form factor, which isn’t a bad thing, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense to have to charge more for a built-in amp. People are most likely to tie this into their existing system, or there are plenty of good powered speakers…in fact you could get some decent powered speakers and a $100 streamer for the price of this thing.

    • DragonDaddyBear
    • 7 years ago

    I think the Q has a few appealing aspects to it. The fact it has the ability to sync music being played throught the house is by far the coolest aspect of this. I find I often have Pandora going on a few devices while accomplishing the “Honey Do” list and none of them are playing the same songs.

    The NFC pairing and people sharing is pretty cool, too.

    But, for me, for it to be worth it, it needs the following:
    Mirroring of your device
    Ability to play Netflix and Pandora or Slacker from the device
    Local media playback

    I’m OK with the price if it’s less buggy than my Boxee (which I still love) and did all the above. The built in amp is a nice touch, IMO. But an ampless “mini Q” for $50-$100 less and have the features I mentioned above that would be awesome.

      • demani
      • 7 years ago

      I like AirFoil just for this purpose alone, and for the same $300 in hardware you can get 3x Airport Express basestations or Apple TVs, giving you three more rooms worth of service. I even use it on my HTPC (running Win7MCE) so I can keep a movie on and follow along when I’m moving between rooms.

      Had this come out when Android was introduced it would have been intriguing, but by now its solving something that isn’t all that problematic, and in a less effective way than many current solutions. I like the idea of an amp being included, but history shows those kinds of things are small use items-would have been better to include a partner amp for $100, and sell the rest for $200 to get the price down and into more hands (and even then, it seems overpriced compared to an Airport Express or AppleTV (which do similar things).

      It does seem odd that it would cost more than the Nexus 7-$200 is a sweet spot-$300 pushes into receiver territory.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 7 years ago

        [quote<]so I can keep a movie on and follow along when I'm moving between rooms[/quote<] I've seen [s<]Comcast[/s<] Xfinity ads showing this but I didn't think people actually do it. Sorry to be judgmental, but serisouly? Media overload a bit? Is it really that useful to not have to sit and watch a movie straight, pausing for bathroom breaks or whatever if necessary?

      • cynan
      • 7 years ago

      If it is in fact true that you cannot use this device to stream or even play back local media (ie, include the functionality of an $80 media player) then Google really did shoot themselves in the foot with this one. What were they thinking? Is this for only streaming music stored on an android device or from some Google internet service? Really Google?

        • MadManOriginal
        • 7 years ago

        It’s sad to have such limited capabilities stock but as we know not surprising for Google. Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft are all trying to tie you into a closed platform – once you’re in, moving to another one is *much* less likely. Apple obviously has a huge head start with iTunes, Amazon ranks next. Google and MS are playing catch-up at this point but it’s this platform tie-in that motivates all of them.

          • cynan
          • 7 years ago

          Perhaps the XDA community or the like will get into homebrew OSes for this device that add normal media player capabilities and the ability to play media off of local drives or networks, allow you to setup bittorrent clients, etc. Such a development may actually make this device somewhat tempting.

          The problem with this is that you normally need a minimal baseline popularity in order for enough interest in these endeavors to pay off. And obviously this won’t help sales to the average consumer who don’t relish the idea of flashing no operating systems on such a device.

        • DragonDaddyBear
        • 7 years ago

        Yes, but it will cache items you play from the “Google Ecosystem.” on the 16GB of storage it has on board. Personally, I don’t want to rely on any one company to house my data (they do eventually fail). So, a cheap NAS (backed up to my desktop for redundancy) and some TV recording, DVD backups, and MP3 and I’m fine. If the MPAA/RIAA and Google/Apple/Sony/etc don’t want to play nice with me or eachother then I just won’t play.

        On a side note, the UV video thing is cool, if it weren’t such a PITA to use and you could have your own digital back up. I have hopes they will learn. One of the major networks had good profits recently because of streaming deals.

      • barleyguy
      • 7 years ago

      It should be able to do Netflix, Pandora, and Slacker. After all, it runs Android, and there’s no way Google is going to block sideloading of APK files. So just go to Amazon appstore and get Netfllix, Pandora, and Slacker.

      On that note, the stuff in the article about not being able to stream downloads etc is a bit stupid as well. The OS on this will probably be very open.

      And if it’s not, just load Linux on it.

    • ludi
    • 7 years ago

    “Do less, pay more, and look ridiculous while doing it.”

    Wait, what?

    • Sargent Duck
    • 7 years ago

    Complaining and whining is free. It doesn’t cost anything. As soon as people have to open their wallets though, totally different story. Now it costs something to put their money where their mouth is.

    • jjj
    • 7 years ago

    “Why is the Nexus so expensive? It’s made in America.”
    That’s bull, it doesn’t add that much to the cost.The device is way too much with very little functionality,Apple TV is crap value (and was at launch too) for 100$ and this isn’t very different for 300$, i like Google just fine but they are nuts releasing this.

    And what’s the point of adding one more device,more cables,more electricity wasted? Why not just promote w/e tech they like for wireless streaming from the Android device to the TV/speakers. We have too many wires, too many remotes,too many damn devices ,lets move forward and get rid of some not add more.

    Other that that the device ,at least,looks fun but i sure do hope that the 32 (was it 32?) LEDs can be turned off when watching video.

    Edit: I guess what bothers me the most is that Google is supposed to be smart,smarter than this for sure.
    Ofc Google could argue that this is the future,getting rid of other devices and local media but this device is selling now not in 10y, the price is still insane and in the end if we get rid of other devices we’ll get rid of this kind of device too,we’ll only need the phone (or w/e the future mobile PC will be called) and the screen/speakers,if that.

    • GasBandit
    • 7 years ago

    The reason I’m not buying it has nothing to do with where it’s made and everything to do with the fact that the WDTV does everything I could want it to do for 200 dollars less than this shackled shelfwarmer.

    • ianworld
    • 7 years ago

    I just want a box that does airplay like audio and video mirroring/streaming from my android phone. It is absolutely a killer feature. This weird and expensive kludge doesn’t fill that need at all. Thats why it won’t sell.

      • sweatshopking
      • 7 years ago

      smartglass does what you want.

    • willmore
    • 7 years ago

    When I watched it being introduced during the keynote, I was all but laughing. I have an old thin client PC that I got for next to nothing hooked to my stereo–using an SP/DIF connection. It’s on my network and uses MPD to play music for me. I can control it from any android/iOS/Windows/OSX/Linux box on my network. People can browse the songs, edit playlists, etc. Al lthe stuff they were doing and were so excited about–without the vendor lockin–but I’ve been doing it for years and I’m a ‘late adopeter’ of this technology.

    Okay, so this box does a little bit more, but it’s, in essence, a stripped down Android tablet, right? Missing the screen, touchpad, etc, but including wired networking and an sp/dif connection. Oh, it’s got a 25W audio amp in it. Not sure that that’s good for. What usage scenario did they envision for them? Oh, you could stick one of these next to a power outlet and hook some speakers to it. For $300. Hey, you know what, you can get boxes that send audio over powerline and you could use your existing stereo system to source audio for it. Guess what, they cost way less than $300.

    I guess if you want to be a Google only household and don’t have any existing infrastructure, this might look good to you. But, $300?

    Edit: Mothing?

      • Srsly_Bro
      • 7 years ago

      If you were “all but laughing”, then you must not have been laughing. I’m unsure of what you’re getting at with all the negativity towards it.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 7 years ago

        It’s all about being more awesome than Google for willmore.

        • willmore
        • 7 years ago

        What negativity? I’m just not impressed. It does a job that I got done with a piece of equipment that was almost free and people have been doing the same thing for, let’s see….[url<]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_Player_Daemon[/url<] Ahh, since 2003, so not quite a decade. Yes, Google added video to it, which is nice and they added some social aspects to it which some might find useful, but they also locked it up in their walled garden. Not being Apple doesn't get them a pass on that front. Oh, and they want $300 for it.

      • DragonDaddyBear
      • 7 years ago

      I agree it’s over priced, but if you are not an Apple fan and are a typical non-technical user then the simplicity of this is worth it to you because that demographic doesn’t know what we know.

      The first thing I thought of when I saw that it has an amp was “garage system!”

        • willmore
        • 7 years ago

        $300 for a garage system? My garage system uses cast off parts from the main stereo. I haven’t paid anything except for some extra long speaker cables when an upgrade to the main theater system freed up a surround sound receiver. The only things I have in my garage that cost $300 or above are vehicles.

      • bjm
      • 7 years ago

      So you made one custom device? Bravo!

      Now build more for millions of people with an extremely broad range of skill sets, a support infrastructure to back the platform, and test for at least some level of quality assurance — all the while making sure that it has a sustainable business model.

      What? Yeah, didn’t think so.

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        this device isn’t sustainable. not at this price anyway, and that’s his point. you’re just agreeing with him.

          • bjm
          • 7 years ago

          Eh, not quite. Perhaps you didn’t read my full post — as short it was. Here’s the cliffnotes: Custom-built devices built by enthusiasts like us don’t compete with mass market devices.

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            that’s a fair point, but you claim a sustainable business model, and i’m not convinced this device has one.

            • bjm
            • 7 years ago

            And hey, neither am I.

            But nevertheless, the goal of mass-market devices is always to make them profitable. I won’t claim to know the R&D and manufacturing costs of the Nexus Q, but I would presume they did so with the intent to find a way for it to be at least sustainable, and at best, profitable. And that’s the difference between custom-built devices and mass-market ones. The intent. The intent to build a sustainable business model.

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            THEN WE AGREE!! πŸ™‚

            • bjm
            • 7 years ago

            Woohoo, yeah!! GO TEAM!

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            β™₯β™₯β™₯β™₯ you are now a made man. you’re part of the team. repeat after me “may i burn if i ever betray my friends”. great! well done sir!

        • willmore
        • 7 years ago

        Okay, how about a box like Geoff mentioned running WMC? Or an Apple TV box? Are those better examples for you?

          • bjm
          • 7 years ago

          Indeed they are, very much better examples. An Apple TV vs. the Nexus Q is a far more sensible comparison. A comparison in which the Apple TV smacks the Nexus Q silly. But it definitely makes more sense than your non-vendor locked, custom built, hodge-podge thin-client PC setup that you were trying to pass as a competitor to the Nexus Q.

            • willmore
            • 7 years ago

            Then you’re missing why I found the Q’s sales pitch funny. Google was trying to sell me a $300 box that did what my practically free setup does. That was funny. What made it even more funny *to me* is that I’ve been doing this for years and others have been doing it for much longer. What’s innovative about this device?

            • bjm
            • 7 years ago

            Then you’re missing the concept of a target market because Google isn’t trying to sell it to you. Just like how Linksys isn’t targeting OpenBSD users who build their own routers.

            You bring up the Apple TV now, but initially you were talking about building an almost free custom built thin-client PC without vendor lock-in (which of course, does not include the Apple TV) trumping Google. If you’d like to backpedal now to include the Apple TV (another mass market device associated with a walled garden) and ask how the Nexus Q is innovative over that, then you, sir, have found yourself an argument!

            • nexxcat
            • 7 years ago

            I think willmore’s point was, and forgive me for putting words in their mouth:

            PC (nominal price) > Apple TV ($99) > Nexus Q ($300).

            There are other solutions that are also cheaper than both the Nexus Q and the Apple TV, like Roku HD ($60 @ Amazon), which will play things like Netflix streaming videos that are also consumer-grade boxes that should be a relative no-brainer to set up.

            I think we all agree; Nexus Q @ $300 is a bit high unless it does something much, much more compelling than stream video.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      ‘mothing’ eh? πŸ™‚

      1) [url<]http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=mothing[/url<] 2) [url<]http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mothing[/url<] I am actually glad I looked this up, now I have a word to describe people who 'moth' on their phone obsessivley when not appropriate! (first link, second definition) Going by the second definition, if you built it next to where you collect moths, if that's inside your house I'd suggest some moth balls πŸ™‚ (just messing around, I love making play on words with typos)

        • willmore
        • 7 years ago

        I like some of the urban dictionary ones! I fixed my typo. The ‘staring into ones PDA instead of interacting with people around them’ seems like it should get a lot more use. I think I’m going to make an effort to spread the usage. πŸ™‚

          • BobbinThreadbare
          • 7 years ago

          I have a friend this fits to a tee, I’m going to start calling him the moth or maybe a moth-er

            • willmore
            • 7 years ago

            Careful they don’t think you’re calling them something else. πŸ™‚

            Edit: What would you call someone who is staring at their phone instead of paying attention to the person with whom they were ‘in congress’?

    • dpaus
    • 7 years ago

    I’m happy to ignore minor price differences between a domestically-made and a foreign-made device [i<]all other things being equal[/i<] - and sadly, that might be the killer here. This device just seems to have too many limitations and not enough benefits over existing devices/services.

      • LocalCitizen
      • 7 years ago

      If the Q doesn’t sell well it’s more likely due to the limitations and not the high price.
      The device’s target audience does not seem to be well defined.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This