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Why did Google delay the Nexus Q?

Hint: It probably has something to do with the $299 price-tag. Moreover, the Nexus Q doesn't neatly fit into any existing hardware category. 

By Matthew Shaer / August 1, 2012

The Nexus Q is seen during Google I/O 2012 Conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco in July. The Nexus Q has been delayed.



Back in late June, Google unveiled a spherical gizmo called the Nexus Q – essentially a conduit for all sorts of streaming multimedia. 

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Hook the Nexus Q up to your television set or home entertainment system, and you can access content purchased from Google Play or share music and friends with friends via the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth antennas. The thing certainly looked pretty cool, like a robot head missing the rest of its body. Engadget called it "mysterious." David Pogue of the Times, taking a somewhat more skeptical approach, called the $299 device "baffling." 

Now we can all call it "delayed." In an email to folks who had already pre-ordered the Q, Google said that "the industrial design and hardware [of the Q] 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."

So hey, what happened? Well, Google isn't saying. But the consensus in tech community is that Google slapped a ludicrously high price tag on a digital jukebox, and then walked the Nexus Q back when the criticism starting pouring in.

Google "strangled itself on its price tag," Adrian Kingsley-Hughes pronounces over at ZDNET. "My bet is that if we ever see the Nexus Q offered again, it's the price that Google will have made better," he adds.

It's worth noting that $299 was the base price for the Nexus Q. There was also the option to pay another $399 for speciality speakers and $49 for the accompanying cords. 

A second possible problem with the Nexus Q – it didn't really fit into any existing hardware category. The Nexus Q, Engadget's Tim Stevens wrote in a review, "feels like a mysterious piece of alien technology that's beamed straight down to your bookshelf. It also feels like alien technology in that we have no idea what to do with the thing." We didn't try the Q ourselves, but we know what Stevens means. 

To stream audio, we hook our iPhone or laptop up to the stereo system. To stream video, we fire up our iPad or hook up the Roku box. For now, we don't really need the Nexus Q. And therein might lie the problem. 

For more on how technology intersects daily life, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut.


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