Google’s Nexus Q is a streaming device. It is a spherical object with the following connections: optical S/PDIF digital output to connect to a hi-fi, wired ethernet, USB connection for “service and support”, and speaker outputs.
The top half of the Nexus Q twists to control the volume. Tap the top LED to mute the sound.
The built-in class D stereo amplifier is 12.5 watts per channel.
There are also 32 multi-colour LEDs on the unit which blink in time to the music. This could be annoying but presumably there is a way to disable it.
You can stream music and video apparently, only from Google. This can be your own songs uploaded to Google, or purchased from the Play store.
Why would you want to stream music from the cloud, when it is already stored locally in iTunes, say, or in FLAC for a Squeezebox system? Cloud streaming can be high quality, but playing uncompressed audio over the local network is better still.
Why does not Nexus support standards like DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) streaming, so that you could stream to it from a variety of media servers?
Most seriously, Google says:
Requirements: Phone or Tablet running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) or higher with access to Google Play
Is Google really saying that you cannot control streaming to a Nexus Q with a PC, Mac, iPad or any other non-Android device? For example, I am sitting here working at a PC. Do I have to pick up my phone in order to control Nexus Q? Or run the Android emulator, I guess?
One mitigating factor: developers can install stuff on the Nexus Q via that USB connector. I am guessing then what we may see these missing features plugged by third-party efforts.
The Nexus Q has the concept of “social streaming”. What this means is that if you enable guest mode, anyone else on the network who has an Android device can also stream their music. That could be fun, or could be chaos, but it is an interesting feature.
Music shared on the device is transient, according to this Wired article:
The queue is a transient song list, and not an actual playlist. When you add a song to the queue, the Nexus Q owner can listen to the track for 24 hours, even after you’ve left.
The price is $299.