Google Nexus Q Extends Hangouts to the Living Room

Google is calling its Nexus Q the "first social streaming media player." What does that mean to the company? Well, a streaming device that looks like a futuristic cannonball, and allows you to play video and music from Google Play and YouTube. It's also controlled by your Android smartphone or tablet, so that you and your friends can all get in on it.

Read on for what to expect.

Your Phone Is The Remote

Nexus Q isn't looking to turn your TV into a smart set. It won't ask you to browse a bunch of apps from a menu. Instead, you fire up your Android phone or tablet and interact with the Nexus Q through Google Play and YouTube.

The downside? We've only heard about Google Play and YouTube, and nowhere does it mention anything else, such as Netflix or Hulu. Also, only Android devices appear to be supported.

Slick idea, but the limited access to content is a little worrying.

That Social Thing

Nexus Q will allow you and your friends — your Android-carrying friends, that is — to get in on what's playing. You and whoever else is in your living room and connected to your Wi-Fi network can queue up music and video all day long. It looks like a seamless, super easy way to pick and choose what you're watching, though bear in mind that it funnels your through two Google services: Play and YouTube. Think of it like a Google+ hangout, just for real in your living room.

Don't want your friends to hijack your Q? This mode can also be turned off. Access to the playlist on the Nexus Q appears to be limited to the same Wi-Fi network the Q is connected to. Neat, but your mileage will very depending on how many people you know with Android phones (and how often they find themselves on your couch).

One Big Hurdle: The Price

The Nexus Q is $300. For what it's offering, that's quite a bit of money. That no doubt comes from the internals needed to crank out quality sound (Google's included a two-channel 25W amp) and manage multiple devices at once. $300, though? You'd have to stand up to change your playlist, but you may as well just buy yourself a really nice dock.

That, and Google is pushing the idea of buying a few Nexus Qs so that you can play music in different rooms. They're all networked together and you can manage all of your Nexus Q units on the fly in one place. It looks well done, but that's $300 per room.

Google is also offering a pair of Triad speakers, which you can see in the gallery below, for only $400, and $50 speaker cables tailored to "fit the unique shape of Nexus Q."

Via Nexus Q

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