The LG Nexus 4 will undoubtedly steal the show at Google’s Announcement on Oct. 29, but outside of Android’s latest flagship device, the Nexus Q is what I’ll be waiting for. At Google I/O, back on June 28, both the Nexus 7 and the Nexus Q were announced together and sold exclusively through Google Play. As the Nexus 7 enjoyed positive reviews and early success, the Nexus Q was widely viewed as an overpriced and underdeveloped Apple TV supplement. Google quickly acknowledged this, removing the Nexus Q off of its digital shelves with the hopes of substantially improving it. With nearly four months to re-evaluate the device, if Google was ever going to reboot the product, it would be on Oct. 29, before the holiday season.
The Nexus Q is important, because it could help Google get into your living room and using Google Play for more than just apps. Like Apple’s efforts with Apple TV, Google needs the Nexus Q to work. With similar services to iTunes like Google Play Music, Movies, and TV shows already available, getting these options connected to your television – in a meaningful way – helps all of Google’s media services make more money while also becoming more relevant.
As I’ve said in earlier posts, Google will have to make a choice: continue to try and save Google TV’s business or bolster the Nexus Q’s – but it can’t have both. If it chooses the latter, you should see a Nexus Q with overhauled software that connects to almost every important Android-media app, while also leveraging a more competitive price (probably under $200).
It’s important that Google makes the Nexus Q successful, because one of the remaining arguments made by many Apple enthusiasts is Airplay. It offers the ability to push music, movies and television shows stored on Apple devices to Apple TV wirelessly. You can also access a scrimped-down list of outside apps such as Netflix and Hulu Plus. This is a capability really unavailable to Android users now, and something that could be resolved with the Nexus Q later.
The Nexus Q could also offer more for less, with Apple TV having a few problems within its own ecosystem – its first being the cloud. Like many of their products and services, Apple dances around the cloud instead of committing to it. Because of this, watching a rented movie from iTunes is not as easy as hitting play. Sometimes an extensive download period needs to happen first in order to watch – taking up unnecessary time and space on Apple devices. In fact, every other media app (Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Google Play) operates differently – streaming rather than storing. This is an opportunity for the Nexus Q to connect Google Play to your television, in the same manner as an Apple TV, while offering more functionality like additional apps.
That brings me to the second problem with Apple TV: its lack of essential apps many cable-cutting consumers enjoy with different products like Roku (HBO Go, Amazon Instant Video, Showtime Anywhere, Spotify, Rhapsody, and Pandora to name a few). The Nexus Q will likely include these apps, while also offering its core Google Play ones.
If Google can make these minor fixes, the Nexus Q can be competitive, perhaps becoming an essential component of many Android users’ living rooms by leveraging its dominant Android market share. Also, don’t be surprised if Google sells bundles right out of the gate as well. Meaning the purchase of a Nexus Q could give you something like 20 percent off an unlocked Nexus 4 smartphone from Google Play. The company has done this before, with the Nexus 7 offering a $25 credit towards Google Play upon purchase.
So if a rebooted Nexus Q sold for $150 with additional app integration would you buy it? How about a discounted bundle with a Nexus 4 smartphone?