Google's Nexus Q flops
Google pulled the plug on its media streamer, Nexus Q, only five weeks after its introduction in June.
Google initially gave away about 5,000 Nexus Qs at its developers’ conference in June, and when the company announced it was delaying the product, it shipped free versions to those who had pre-ordered. Despite promises to “make it better,” the cool-looking black ball device designed to stream video and music won’t be coming back any time soon. Google’s Nexus Web site makes no mention of Nexus Q.
Nexus Q was essentially a jukebox that allowed different Android users to stream content to it. Critics said the device cost too much ($299) and did too little.
Google’s failure with Nexus Q exposed its weakness in the hardware business.
It’s important to note that Google is serious about hardware. In fact, the Nexus 4 phone and the Nexus 7 and 10 tablets have proven compelling and are competitively priced. But when it comes to devices designed for the home, Google comes up short. The case in point is the company’s Internet-connected Google TV, unveiled a few years back. Although it is still on the market, it has met only lukewarm consumer reception.
As with any software company, Google has forged a strategy of introducing new products early in their development and revising them on-the-fly. While that approach tends to work for software, it’s tougher to pull off in consumer electronics, especially once consumers pay for an expensive device.
While “software upgrades” are viewed as the new nirvana for many traditionally hardware-oriented CE manufacturers, Google’s Nexus Q, along with Google TV, have provided an invaluable lesson: You need to start with hardware that’s clearly defined and, above all, different.
Google's Nexus Q: Hardware is harder than software.