Google Nexus Q media streamer killed off?
Possible successor waiting in the wings to take on Apple TV
The heavily-hyped Nexus Q Android-based media streaming orb, launched with great fanfare at the Google IO conference last year, appears to have been retired - before even becoming available in the UK.
The Nexus Q was designed as Google's answer to Apple's AirPlay. The compact, and for some reason spherical, Android-powered device was designed to integrate with Google's Play service for music and video streaming, connecting to a user's existing TV and stereo system in the same manner as an Apple TV set-top box. Where the Apple TV costs $99 in the US, however, the Nexus Q launched at $299 - and initial sales were slow.
Early reviews pointed to severe bugs in the software, leading to Google delaying the launch of the device and offering it for free to those who had already pre-ordered. Even that wasn't enough to change the device's fortunes for the better: when Google launched the Nexus 4 smartphone and Nexus 10 tablet, it updated its Android landing page with the new products - while quietly removing the Nexus Q from the site.
Google didn't appear willing to completely give up on the gadget, however: throughout this saga, the Nexus Q remained visible on the Google Play store for US customers - albeit with a notice that it was not available to order. Now, the status of that page has been changed from advising that it is not available for sale "at this time" to being "no longer available for sale" - a phrase Google typically restricts to devices that won't be coming back.
Whether the move means that Google has given up on the Nexus Q entirely, or whether it has listened to critical feedback and is planning to launch a cheaper and more powerful successor product - the Nexus R, perhaps - is not yet known. Should a successor device be launched, however, hopefully UK customers will be allowed to get in on the action and make up their own minds as to whether Google can really challenge Apple TV.