Google Delaying and Revamping The Nexus Q, What Should It Become?

News came in tonight that Google has suspended the launch of the Nexus Q amid almost universal criticism on the limited functionality and high price of the device.  The Nexus Q was available for pre-order until just earlier today but Google has now taken down the pre-order links along with pricing for the Q and it’s accessories.  However as a thank you for the would-be early adopters who already pre-ordered the device Google has offered a free Q which is pretty awesome, below is the email that Google sent out:

We have an important update about your Nexus Q pre-order.

When we announced Nexus Q at Google I/O, we gave away devices to attendees for an early preview. The industrial design and hardware were met with great enthusiasm. We also heard initial feedback from users that they want Nexus Q to do even more than it does today. In response, we have decided to postpone the consumer launch of Nexus Q while we work on making it even better.

To thank you for your early interest, we’d like to extend the Nexus Q preview to our pre-order customers and send you a free device. If you had other items in your order, your credit card will be charged for those items only.

Your Nexus Q will be on its way soon and you will receive a notification and tracking number from Google Play when it ships.

The Nexus Q Team

Nexus Q

Image Courtesy of Google Play

There has been a lot of criticism of the limited functionality of the Q, but the core idea is a good one, it could just be so much more.  For those unfamiliar the Q is basically a network streaming device with hardware similar to a Galaxy Nexus but rather than stream from the local network it streams content directly from Google’s cloud services, that means it accesses your Google Play Music, Movies, and TV libraries to pull all your content down even if your phone doesn’t have it stored.  It has one of the coolest industrial designs I’ve seen in a long time but at a price of $300 it was difficult to justify.

What Should The Q Do?

As Google made the Q an open device for developers there was a lot of speculation on what it could be pushed to do.  The first and most obvious thing that I believe it should have done right out of the box was local network streaming.  I have two reasons for this: Not all content is available on Google Play.  This one’s a no brainer, sure you can upload your whole music library but what about all your family photos?  Home videos?  TV shows from other content providers?  None of that can be played without local network streaming.  The second reason is the transition of more ISP’s to using data caps.  With the Q streaming everything from the internet people with slower internet connections or limited connections will have to keep an eye on their data usage to avoid overages or cancellations of service.  Local streaming can stream your content from your laptop to your other devices with no internet involved.

Google TV

Image Courtesy of Technorati

The whole time during the announcement of the Nexus Q in the Google I/O keynote I kept thinking “This is the logical evolution of Google TV” so why not roll the features of Google TV into a device like the Q?  Both devices are vying for living room supremacy and both were met with mixed response for their limited functionality but the two together could form a full product.

The Nexus Q is running a full version of Android as shown by developers who were able to add a launcher and apps to it, I think that apps should take the stage.  Similar to how Google TV embraces apps the Q should be no different, it should take the same 10 ft UI that Google pushed with Google TV and run with it.  Dedicated developers looking for ways to push the platform is one of Android’s greatest strengths, take advantage of it!

Taking inspiration from a few posts I’ve seen on Reddit it would be interesting to see Google integrate Wireless Display technology in to the Q and future versions of Android for wireless gaming.  Devices are already paired to the Nexus Q with NFC and content is then beamed over in an Apple Airplay-like setup but taking that further to expand to wireless display for gaming could greatly expand on Android as a platform for gaming and draw in more developers for premium games.  Admittedly this one is pushing the bounds a little bit and is more wishful thinking than anything else.

Bring back Android@Home.  This one is again more wishful thinking, but it’s been a while since we saw anything about Android@Home.  When I was at Google I/O last year and they demoed Android@Home automation with the full auditorium being controlled wirelessly from an Android device I was completely blown away, especially with the gaming demo.  How awesome would it be if you were playing some music/having a party and you had lighting set up with Android@Home and it became responsive to the music?  This is the kind of cool factor that I could only ever see Google delivering.

These are just a handful of my ideas of what the Nexus Q could become, what do you want to see?  What would it take to get you to buy a Nexus Q?

Original Story via Android Police

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OUYA – The $99 Android Console and Why It May Not Be So Cool

Kickstarter has been the topic of a lot of news in the past year with projects ranging from indie games, to iPod/iPhone accessories, to full out Smartwatches that run apps and link up to your smartphone by bluetooth.

The latest sensation to hit Kickstarter is a $99 Android based gaming console called OUYA (pronounced Wee-Ah).  The Kickstarter campaign started only days ago but they’ve already obliterated their $950,000 goal.  At the time of this writing they are at over $160,000 and still climbing by the minute!

OUYA Game Console

Image Courtesy of Kickstarter

What Makes This Cool?

The cool thing about this console is that it is not only running the (currently) latest hardware, a quad core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor but it has a free to play model.  All games available on the platform will be at least partially free to play.  In addition to this the developers seem to understand the core Android enthusiast demographic and have made the software totally open to tinkering, it is root ready out of the box and better yet root won’t void your warranty!  This means aspiring coders and established developers alike can toy around with everything in the software and make the machine exactly what they want.  Want to run an N64 emulator?  How about playing your classic Playstation games?  You can do it!  You’re only limited by how hard you can push the hardware and your imagination, and right now that’s looking like it’ll be pretty far.

OUYA

Image Courtesy of Kickstarter

You can get your hands on a console when it releases by pledging just $99 right now on Kickstarter, you can add a second controller to that with just an extra $30.  The release is currently projected for sometime in March 2013.

What’s Not So Cool

In other words: “Why I haven’t contributed yet”.  What I find to be the main problem with the idea (and in a way they’ve already proven me wrong) is that their core demographic is hardcore Android users it seems.  Now why is that a problem?  Android users love Android!  When you look at the device isolated it’s an amazing idea!  The problem is that most hardcore Android users already have high powered phones or tablets that are capable of running the same software and hooking up to their TV’s by HDMI plus they’ve got the added benefit of the potential to play these games on the go with mobile devices.  Now this on it’s own isn’t a big deal but when you compare it with the fact that it won’t be releasing until March of next year it becomes a problem.

By March 2013 Tegra 3 will likely be either on it’s way out or already old news and the latest and greatest games won’t run well on it anymore.  Sure anyone will tell you that $99 isn’t going to get you the latest hardware but I think a lot of people aren’t realizing that.

Another dangerous point of the OUYA is something I found as I was reading an interview with the creators.  The free games only have to have “part” of the game playable for free.  What is stopping the biggest game developers to only make a one level playable demo available for free like many have done on the Android market.  They could make the rest of the game available only via DLC.  Going from this nothing that I’ve seen so far suggests that the OUYA will be running the Android Play Store.  That means if you purchase a game on OUYA you’ll have to purchase it separately for your other devices, this could be counteracted by OUYA releasing their own app store that would be compatible with other devices though but I don’t see that happening.

Now I’m not totally condemning the OUYA, I was honestly hovering over the contribution button earlier today but I couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger on it.  I’ll be getting an ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity sometime shortly after it comes out and I’m having trouble finding something I can do with the OUYA that I won’t be able to replicate by plugging my Infinity in to my TV.

All this being said the nerd in me really wants to get one and I may just end up contributing tomorrow but I think it’s important to realize the potential downfalls of the project.

For more information check out OUYA on Kickstarter