If you're itching to get your hands on Google's spherical Nexus Q media streaming device, you're in for a letdown. Google has stopped taking orders for it.
But if you're one of the lucky few who ordered it early, you're in for a pleasant surprise: It will arrive without a bill.
Just Take It
Google this week sent out notices to those early adopters to let them know the device is still on its way, gratis.
"When we announced Nexus Q at Google I/O, we gave away devices to attendees for an early preview," read the notice posted by several recipients on Google+. "The industrial design and hardware 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."
"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."
But those visiting the former order page at Google Play, the technology giant's online store (formerly the Android Market) will get this notice: "The Nexus Q is coming soon. Sign up to get the latest news directly from Google."
The Android 4.0-powered device was introduced at Google's I/O developer's conference in San Francisco in June with a $300 price and allows people to point their Android-powered devices at the Q and transmit movies, songs or other media to devices connected by cords, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
It is similar in design to Apple TV, the set-top box that also streams content but is far cheaper, at $99 for the latest model.
Too Much Coin
Michael Inouye, a digital home analyst at ABI Research, said Google was wise to delay the Q's distribution because the device was overpriced.
"The concept of the Nexus Q makes sense -- namely reinforcing and complementing Google's ecosystem by supporting YouTube and Google Play," Inouye told us. "Apple has a similar arrangement with its Apple TV, iTunes, iOS, and computing products. The key difference however rests with the number of third-party services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, MLB, etc. that the Apple TV supports -- plus the STB also costs $200 less. Others like Roku offer even less expensive alternatives and more content than the Nexus Q."
Inouye adds that while it makes sense to market a complementary device to Android smartphones and tablets, the limited feature set was still a major setback.
"Some might argue that the ability to power speakers (integrated amp) brought the Nexus Q closer to a docking station, which can cost in excess of $300," he said. "But the main premise/value still targeted video, which like Google TV was too limited."
Some of those posting about the Nexus Q on Google+ wondered if the reboot of the Nexus Q would mean new hardware or just new software, so those who have the prototype could eventually upgrade.