Google (GOOG) won’t mind your pleas if you don’t mind its Q.
Nexus Q — the new home-theater appliance that the search engine giant unveiled during Wednesday’s Google I/O conference — is going to turn a lot of heads when it hits the market in mid-July.
The stylish spherical device is billing itself as the first social sharing media device. It will be a cloud-based jukebox, allowing anyone with an Android smartphone or tablet to tap into Google Play to stream music to a home’s stereo system or video through a TV or monitor.
It’s cool. It’s way cool. It will also probably be a flop. Let’s go over the reasons why.
1. It’s too expensive. At a $299 price point, it’s priced too high compared with what consumers have been willing to pay for set-top boxes and streaming peripherals.
Even the mighty Apple (AAPL) struggled at a similar price point with its Apple TV until the third generation of Apple‘s streaming media player hit the market at $99.
2. Social sharing is overrated. Microsoft (MSFT) thought it could take a bite out of Apple’s iPod dominance when it rolled out its Zune media player with a sharing component. Two Zune players would be able to send music tracks to each other, and they could be replayed a couple of times.
The Zune flopped.
The ideal Nexus Q scenario is a roomful of friends at a party sending their favorite tracks into the Q queue. Does anybody really want that, though? Going from Linkin Park to Justin Bieber to Adele sounds like a recipe for disaster — unless everyone’s musical tastes are similar.
3. Q’s best features may go unnoticed. There are reasons that the Nexus Q costs way more than most media players. It packs 16 gigabytes of storage. It works through near-field communications, so all one has to do is tap an Android device to make a connection. It has what Google calls an “audiophile-grade” amplifier.
However, the reason the initial promotional push is all about the music-sharing aspect is that there are now video-sharing devices selling for as little at $50. If someone just wants to stream their own video collections and their own music — bypassing many of Nexus Q’s coolest features — the high cost of this American-made gadget will be squandered.
It’s great to see Google thinking outside of the box, but this high-tech orb isn’t likely to square off with consumers.
Longtime Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft, Apple, and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Microsoft, Apple, and Google, as well as creating bull call spread positions in Apple and Microsoft.