Sunday, December 28, 2014

Google Nexus 7 Tablet and Nexus Q Media Player Garner First Reviews

While the Nexus Q Streaming Media Player and Nexus 7 tablet aren' even 24 hours old, reviewers have already rushed to judge Google's forays into the consumer electronics world.

Google Nexus 7 Tablet and Nexus Q Media Player Garner First Reviews

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While the Nexus Q Streaming Media Player and Nexus 7 tablet aren't even 24 hours old, reviewers have already rushed to judge Google's forays into the consumer electronics world.

Lucky attendees at the opening of  Google I/O developers conference yesterday found both products  in their takeaway goodie bag. Several  rushed back to the office or hotel to play.

The 7-inch screened Nexus 7 tablet has instantly been judged a better deal at $199 (in 8GB form) than the similarly-sized but now relatively old tech Kindle Fire.

 The Nexus 7 runs on a faster Nvidia processor and brand new, Android Jelly Bean 4.1 operating system - more efficient for app updates and battery preservation. Designed in a mere 4 months (per Google and hardware partner ASUS), the Nexus 7 is also lighter than the Kindle and  better equipped with goodies like a 1.2 MP front-facing camera and ports (mini HDMI, Micro USB, Ethernet). Plus, it's a more polished reading/viewing medium. There's a higher resolution screen - 1,280 x 800 pixels  versus  the Kindle's 1,024 x 600 pixels display - which also improves with in-plane switching (IPS) technology to increase the screen's viewing angles. "Great if you want to share something with your friend; bad if you want to hide the fact that you're reading 'Fifty Shades of Gray' or indulging in some guilty pleasure like 'Real Housewives of Orange County,' since you can now purchase TV shows on Google Play," noted allthingsd.com blogger Bonnie Cha. 

Also designed  to get you buying content  from the Google Play online store is the orb-shaped Nexus Q streaming media player garnering mixed "first impression" notices. 

 Hooked up to a sound system, speakers and/or a TV, Nexus Q takes cues from an Android smartphone or tablet on the same Wi-fi network to stream music and videos from the cloud. More specifically, content  purchased/rented  at Google Play or pulled down from the (Google owned) YouTube site.

Google calls the Nexus Q  "the first social streaming media player" because other friends who're over for a party can also link their Android devices  and "Q-up" songs from  their Play-lists, transforming the device into a jukebox. When it works, that is. A reviewer from theverge.com and a pal  had a fair share of trouble connecting their Jelly Bean-software updated Android devices to the Q, before it finally recognized both. "It was undeniably fun, but the problems with set-up definitely took away from the 'it just works' promises' made during yesterday's keynote," noted this blogger.

 And when pulling down video content, the device often suffered image dropouts and repeatedly stopped playback to re-buffer. The same show "playing back on a Galaxy Nexus demonstrated none of the issues," added The Verge. "It's worth nothing that the Q streams directly from Google Play and not through the handset or tablet, so Google clearly has some tweaking to do here."

Then there's the price/value proposition of the Nexus Q. While packing a mini-computer, a 25 watt stereo amplifier, 16 GB of memory,  Wi-Fi  plus  NFC (near field communications) for tap-to-connect and transfer functions, this $299, made-in the-U.S.A. device operates only in the world of Android gizmos.

 A similarly priced Sonos streaming music system  can take commands from both Android and iOS devices and connects to a myriad of web-based music sources, both free and subscription based. And the more Q-comparable (in terms of a/v content access) Apple TV goes for a mere $99.

There is feature-growth potential with the Nexus Q, though. should developers want to pick up this black ball and run with it.  The Android 4.0-based device features a micro USB connector to "encourage general hackability," said Google.

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