AS CONSUMERS start to own more than one device, the need for a separate device to act as a central 'command centre' becomes more apparent in daily life.
Google recently announced the Nexus Q at the I/O developer conference, a self-produced entertainment media hub solely for this purpose.
However, at US$299 ($388), I thought for a second that it was Apple announcing its new media hub because of the premium pricing.
Surprisingly, the Apple TV is only selling at US$99 in the US, whilst Angry Bird creators' Roku LT is available for only $49.99.
As good as it looks, the Nexus Q still comes with a number of limitations that makes it hard to justify its price.
The most apparent of these limitations is that it can only work with an Android device, again, for a moment I thought it was Apple announcing a product with all its exclusivity features.
I'm sure there's a good reason why it is exclusively Android, probably due to compatibility reasons or what not. But what you can do with the Nexus Q from an Android phone or tablet is that you can stream music and movies from the Google Play Account, which will be instant through the cloud.
Sadly, this is something that becomes obsolete for us in Brunei because we have no paid items on Google's Play.
Again, this is not Google's fault because of Brunei's piracy issues, we have to suffer (Apple recently launched the iTunes store for our market only).
But let's say we do have movies and music on Googe Play, the Nexus Q will then allow anything we want to be streamed on the HDTV or speakers of your choice after being setup.
For instance, if we have a bunch of mp3s on one Android device, we can choose to play it using Google's Play Music app to run it on the Nexus Q, which will be connected to speakers, TV and so on.
On the other hand, if you watch YouTube a lot, then this will help in playing the videos you want to watch on TV wirelessly and seamlessly.
Still sounds too expensive for you?
Then you can have a group play thing during parties or social gatherings.
Google calls it the first social media streaming device, and it probably is because what happens is, if all your friends (like mine) own Android devices, they can tap into the wireless network and add songs or YouTube videos (or Google Play Videos) to the queue.
From there, they can view what songs are up next and can shift songs up or down the list.
Same goes for YouTube videos.
This is great for social gatherings when everyone wants to have a taste of their own music and you get a great mix of songs.
Still sounds too expensive to me
It only runs on Android JellyBean (4.1), which means only two devices work as of now, the Google Nexus and Google's new tablet, the Nexus 7.
Google promises this is just temporary though, and I hope it is, because not many phones will see JellyBean for a long long time. Heck, some manufacturers are still running GingerBread on their phones.
Since the Nexus Q is NFC-enabled (Near Field Communication), you simply would tap the device on top of the Q and it'll bring you to the Play Store to download an application.
You pair via Bluetooth and after that connection is made, everything is back into the cloud.
And if you happen to own more than one Nexus Q, you can choose from your device which Q (connected to which TV or stereo) you want to play music or videos to.
Is it too expensive though?
The Nexus Q isn't short of ports, coming with a micro-HDMI, micro-USB, optical input, ethernet, and stereo outputs, pretty much everything you need.
That and the other two things that I like best about the Nexus Q is its design, a round ball with ports on the back, and its built in amplifier for premium sounding music.
Sadly, if it were up to me, I might even choose to get an Apple TV. It may not be able to do everything the Nexus Q does, but for us in Brunei, it's good enough to do what you need it to.
But if I were in dire need of a media player, I would try to get my hands on the Roku, which is by far the cheapest out of all the choices.
The views expressed by the author are his own and do not reflect those of The Brunei Times.
The Brunei Times
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
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