At its I/O developer conference today, Google introduced a new hardware device that streams music and video to a variety of Wifi-connected devices. A black orb with a glowing blue stripe, the Nexus Q is not just pretty, it’s Apple-quality pretty. In fact, as AllThingsD reports, its two main developers boast Apple design pedigrees.
But design isn’t everything. Functionality and already-established technology habits could derail the Nexus Q’s goal of catching up to the success of Apple’s iTunes store.
The thorn in Nexus Q’s side is the fact that its functionality, as a device running on the Android operating system, hinges entirely on Google Play. Play is an app store that recently pivoted from Android Market to encompass apps, music, games and books. Users can stream music and build collaborative social playlists on the Nexus Q using Google Play, but the problem is this: How many people actually pay to Play? Company stats don’t reveal anything about Play’s revenue breakdown.
Apple still has a death grip on the mobile music market; AllThingsD reports that iTunes accounted for “$1.9 billion in Apple’s overall revenue” last quarter. That’s no pittance, and if Google seriously wants to compete with companies like Apple and Amazon in the streaming space, they’re going to have to market the crap out of Google Play. Otherwise, we see the Nexus Q going the way of Google’s other streaming device–the Google TV, which we owned for less than a year before it went totally kaput on us.