(Ars Technica) -- Google unveiled a new home server called Nexus Q on its Google Play store in the minutes before the company's Google I/O conference in San Francisco began.
Google bills the globe-like device as "the first social streaming player." It can be used as an amp to power speakers and can be connected to a TV. It is controllable by any Android device running Android 2.3 Gingerbread.
At I/O, Google announced that the Nexus Q is an offshoot of Project Tungsten, the company's home automation division. The black, spherical body of the server is fairly small at 4.6 inches in diameter, and it weighs 2 pounds, according to the product page.
Inside the Nexus Q is an OMAP 4460 dual-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU with an SGX540 graphics core. The processor is accompanied by 1GB of RAM and 16GB of flash memory. According to the New York Times, the player "has a single control: the volume can be turned up or down by grabbing and twisting the dome that makes up the top half of the device."
Google touted the Nexus Q as being designed to encourage "general hackability," though it did not elaborate further.
The presenter did note that multiple Nexus Qs can be set up to work with one another throughout the house; changing music on one changes it and plays it through the rest. Another use case mentioned was a collaborative playlist, where a bunch of friends hanging out with their Android devices can each contribute songs to the list from their Google Play accounts.
As for movie-watching, the experience is meant to be seamless: users can start a movie on an Android tablet, pick it up again on their TV with the Nexus Q, and then stop and pick it up again on an Android smartphone. The Android 4.1 device's ports include Micro HDMI, TOSLink Optical audio, Ethernet, micro AB USB (for service and support only, Google says), and banana jack speaker outputs. Supported apps include Google Play Music, Google Play Movies and TV, and YouTube.
The device is priced at $299 and will ship in July (the product page currently shows a 2-3 week ship time). Google is also selling a pair of accessories to go with the Nexus Q: a pair of bookshelf speakers for $399, and two speaker cables for $49.
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