Google Shelves Nexus Q, Gives It Away For Free (GOOG) */?> Google Shelves Nexus Q, Gives It Away For Free (GOOG)

Posted by · August 1, 2012 3:32 pm

It looks like “the world’s first social streaming player” won’t be making its debut quite yet. After receiving a considerable amount of feedback on the Nexus Q’s daunting price tag yet less impressive feature set, the folks at Google decided that delaying the release of its enticing entertainment orb would be best in the long run. In fact, if users happen upon the Google Play website, all that remains of the Nexus Q page is a picture of the gadget alongside a space to sign up to receive a notification on its future release.

Explaining its decision to shelve the Nexus Q project for the time being on Wednesday, Google made the following announcement to those who pre-ordered the devices (originally published on The Verge):

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

When we announced the 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 the 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.

Google’s decision came as a welcome one among critics of the Nexus Q’s $300 price tag which, when compared to the capabilities of devices like the Roku and Apple TV—both of which cost a third of the price or less—seemed a bit steep for even the most dedicated of Google fans. Then again, part of the Nexus Q’s claim to fame, as Google eagerly pointed out during I/O, is the fact that, unlike its aforementioned competitors, the Nexus Q will be made in the United States.

This would serve to explain away at least a portion of the price disparity, but certainly not all of it—especially given how limited the Google gadget’s capabilities are in comparison to its closest counterparts. Of course, the question then becomes, what will Google do to match the Nexus Q’s currently limited usefulness to its clear aesthetic appeal without driving the price even higher?

(If you know, by all means, please share your ideas and thoughts in the comments below!) 

Clearly, Google is headed in a very lucrative direction by shifting its sights to powering the home entertainment experience. And by introducing a device that acts as a conduit between the cloud and users’ home entertainment devices (TVs, stereos, etc.), Google has immediately done away with the inconvenience and potential limitations brought on by constant downloading and syncing by introducing the Nexus Q. Add to that the unmatched Google ecosystem, flush with more content than any one person could ever consume, and one realizes that it’s just a matter of time before Google is the standard-bearer in long-sought-after area of user activity.

However, achieving that dream scenario still rests quite strongly on how well Google controls the Q’s cost as it seeks to cross that threshold.

To Google’s credit, the company has made a substantial investment in its image to buy itself some time as it works through the Nexus Q delay. From its “Made in the USA” promise to its admirable confession that the Nexus Q wasn’t ready for consumer release, Google has undeniably earned itself some time to get this thing right without losing would-be customers.

As for the people who caused Google’s American-made entertainment orb to sell out as soon as it debuted at the I/O conference, they arguably have reason to celebrate the delay. You see, there was more to Google’s announcement to pre-orderers:

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

Well done, Google. Here’s to hoping this becomes standard operating procedure throughout the industry.

For more on Google’s Nexus Q delay…