Perhaps hoping to avoid a situation like the one it experienced with the poorly received initial launch of Google TV, the search giant says it is indefinitely delaying shipment of its Nexus Q streaming media player, which was supposed to compete with other add-on media players such as Apple TV and Roku.
Apparently, the early reaction from those who had received a free Nexus Q when it was announced—mainly those in the press—found the device to be lacking in some key areas. In a message to those who had pre-ordered the Q (including Consumer Reports, which had pre-ordered the Q to get it into our labs as soon as possible for testing) the company said that "initial feedback from users" indicated "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."
It did say that "the industrial design and hardware were met with great enthusiasm," perhaps implying that the software needs more work.
Google is offering to send a free Nexus Q to all those who had pre-ordered one. But it didn't give any indication for when the revised device would be available, or whether it would still carry the $299 price tag announced at launch.
The orb-like Nexus Q was Google's attempt to enter the growing market for add-on devices that can bring extra content, including audio and video from the Web, to TVs and some other living-room devices. But compared with some of the less-expensive options, the Nexus Q appears to offer a more limited selection of content, streaming movies, TV shows, and music only from its own Google Play market and YouTube. It could also stream content from Android devices, which are used to control the unit.
Google had a similar experience when it launched its Android-powered Google TV platform, which met with a poor reception and forced one of its early backers, Logitech, out of the streaming media business. Last year Google updated the Google TV software and a few companies, including LG (TVs), Sony, and Vizio (add-on streaming media players), have launched products using the revamped software.
We'll let you know when Google sets a firm release date for the Nexus Q.
Best streaming video services
—James K. Willcox