#io12 – Google’s ‘Project Tungsten’ revealed: meet the Nexus Q Android cloud computer

27 Jun 2012

Google’s mysterious Project Tungsten has been revealed and no one was expecting this. Branded as the Nexus Q, Google has revealed its first product designed from the ground up – a spherical Android-powered hub that interacts with Android smartphones and tablets, as well as the social web to bring movies and music to life in the living room.

The Saturn-like device has LED lights that spark up to the beat of music and it is effectively a cloud-connected computer powered by Android.

Users can share software, music and movies via NFC by simply tapping their smartphones off the Nexus Q.

The Nexus Q interacts with other appliances in the home, such as stereo speakers and TVs, both wirelessly and via HDMI and via their smart devices and remotely via the web can watch movies and listen to music with friends all over the world.

“The third wave of consumer electronics will be all about the cloud,” explained the project’s director Joe Britt. “The Nexus Q pulls content from Google Play and you can use your phone or tablet to control the cloud.”

Britt’s colleague Matt Hershenson explained that the new Android cloud computer is powered by the same OMAP 4460 chip that powers Nexus smartphones.

In terms of specs, the device has a built-in amplifier up to 25 watts, has optical digital audio and micro HDMI outputs, as well as a micro USB port. It also connects via Ethernet, NFC, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

The world’s first social streaming device

Hershenson added helpfully: “It also encourages general hackability.”

Britt described the Nexus Q as the first-ever social streaming device and with fellow Google engineers demonstrated how it could function as a cloud-connected jukebox whereby users in different cities and countries could cue up music as part of a listening party.

“Without leaving your house you can bring movies and music to friends,” Britt said.

The Nexus Q will cost US$299 and will begin shipping in July from Google Play.


John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years