Here’s what Google’s Nexus Q home device is all about

Google took the lid off its first music hardware at Google I/O in san Francisco Wednesday, unveiling what’s essentially a competitor to Sonos with a close tie-in to Google Play.
It’s a product that the company first teased at last year’s I/O conference, but Google decided to go with a bit of a different form factor: The device is shaped like a bowling ball and comes with an LED circle that responds to the music being played. Here are some additional details:

  • It’s based on Texas Instruments’ (s txn) OMAP 4460, the same chipset that’s used for the Galaxy Nexus.
  • The Nexus Q is based on Android, and was described as “a small Android computer that is designed to live in your home.”
  • It comes with analog audio out, digital audio out, micro HDMI and a micro USB port – which was introduced as a way to enable future upgrades as well as “general hackability.”
  • The device plays all of its content straight from Google Play, including the songs users upload to Google Music.
  • The device can be remotely controlled from any Android device, and offers multi-room playback.
  • Nexus Q allows social music-listening experiences, with multiple users adding songs to the device’s queue – think of it as a kind of in your living room.
  • Nexus Q can also play movies and TV shows straight from Google Play – which makes a little more sense now that Google has added movie purchases and a big library of TV shows from networks such as NBC (s cmcsa) and ABC (s dis) to its digital storefront.
  • Users can also watch videos from YouTube.
  • The device will cost $299, and is available for pre-order through the Google Play store starting today. Shipping will begin in July.

We will have more information about the Nexus Q, and the way it fits in with other Google devices (Google TV anyone?) later today, so stay tuned!