Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Nexus Q: Google looking for a thread

Surprise of the Google I / O 2012, the Nexus Q is an extremely revealing Google's strategy. It is a former research project became a mainstream product. This is a family member Nexus, and not just any one who unifies. This is the first product designed and manufactured by Google from A to Z. The Nexus Q is important - but paradoxically, no one really understands what it serves. 

First device designed and built by Google A to Z

Like Microsoft, Google joined the path traced by Apple and now follows the letter of the precepts laid down by Alan Kay: "those who consider software as a serious matter should design their own equipment.”We could now add services, especially essential that Google has launched a competitor to Amazon S3. The Nexus Q is the first device designed and manufactured entirely by Google, without the intervention of a partner - it is so important.

It is also designed and manufactured in the United States, a fact that says less about Google than on the evolution of the Chinese market. Many components of your devices are in fact already made in the U.S., such as processor and memory on your iPhone or iPad - Texas has retained the skills and jobs to do. What is new is that the final product is not assembled in China, but it is an effect of rising wages on the coast: It has now reached 2 to 5 € per hour, so an assembly United States, where workers' wages are barely higher, has a more minimal impact on the final price of $ 299, that will decrease the Nexus time. Several components of Q are still manufactured in Asia and especially China, before being returned to the United States: Google, like other manufacturers, can not deny that this country was built as a factory for the world and is essential in some areas. But today, the catch-up effect makes the relocation by some called for years a dream within reach. Google is one of the first companies in the computer industry to act, without specifying where the product is manufactured, even if we know that this is a contractor in California. It thus follows companies in other sectors, who returned to the United States and certainly pay a little more for their employees, but also access to other skills.

Beyond this "made in USA" is important in it but not necessarily revealing is the placement of Q that Nexus is particularly original for Google. This product is a truly public, without buttons or interface, with a strange shape, and a certain appeal. This is actually a product shaped hyphen: it allows Google to invest the lounge room in which plays the greatest battle of modern computing, that of the final locking closed ecosystems, here the Apple with the App Store, where that of Microsoft with the Windows Marketplace, and finally that of Google with Google Play. Q is the Nexus because it contributes to this de facto closed ecosystem of Google: phone, tablet, and the reader who brings them together.

As important as it is, nobody really understands what the Nexus Q, especially since Google has not really explained. Some compare it to the Apple TV: it's probably the easiest way to understand the Nexus Q, but this is particularly true. The Apple TV is a kind of iPhone in a black box placed in iOS 5. The Nexus is a kind of Q Galaxy Nexus put in a black sphere Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The similarities end there. The Apple TV device is a fully autonomous: you can use with a remote control even if you do not have an iPhone or iPad, and rent movies, TV shows, watch video content on the web or listen to music stored in iTunes Match. The Nexus Q, He can not possibly function without another Android device: it does not have a user interface independent, even when connected to a TV. Thus, the setting must be made on any Android smartphone or tablet, even if it is facilitated by an NFC link. This is a first lock: the Nexus Q can not possibly exist outside of the Android ecosystem.

Like Apple TV, the Nexus Q is a bridge to listen to music or play videos - but the Nexus Q works the opposite way. The Apple TV streamed via AirPlay the contents of an IOS device (music, video, mirror mode, apps), iPhone or iPad also serving as a remote control. Q's Nexus, the Android device serves merely as a remote control when you start playing a movie from your Nexus Nexus 7 on your Q, the sphere does not read the film from the tablet. No, it will look the same content in the cloud and the bed itself - if the content is not in the cloud, it can not be read. This is a second bolt: the Nexus Q can not possibly exist outside of the Google ecosystem Play.

The reverse operation is not illogical, however: it is perfectly indicative of the role of Q in the ecosystem Nexus Play the Google Mountain View Company is currently building. Android devices, including Nexus Q, can be hacked, of course - but the locking takes place in the cloud. How then describe this strange device, three times more expensive than the Apple TV but not as autonomous, both more powerful and less functional? Google offers "social streaming player", arguing that the Nexus Q would be the first of its kind. What is wrong: the first generation Apple TV, five years ago, embarked iTunes DJ, which allows anyone to add music to a playlist in progress via an IOS device. There was a little surreal to see Google introduce a revolution in domestic use something that some have used for years on a regular basis.

A rolling stone gathers no moss

Surreal is the overriding impression when we look at the case of Nexus Q. We understand that this is an important instrument Google's strategy, and a device that despite its function reversed compared to the habits could seduce and put the Mountain View Company in the race to the living room facing Microsoft and Apple. But Google never explains how this device is important - his video presentation begins with "most people do not understand that this is the first time they see it"!

In general, the Google I / O 2012 have shown a society in search of his thread, and still far from finding it. The Nexus Q is now internal competition with Google TV, the ADK (presented in 2.0 this week), and even Chromebox, and it is unclear how it differs and that if we choose wants a house connected to Google. Google could have shown how it streamlines daily operations of Android 4.1, but chose instead to show graphics and video captures, forgetting that the Google I / O, like the WWDC, is as much a public event that a conference developers.

Now Google, which is potentially the biggest change in the history of Google, which runs a search engine to an engine of knowledge? Google + Events, which presents a system uniquely designed to centralize all the memories around an event for later retrieval? Cut in its presentation abruptly by a series of stunts to promote Google's Glasses, a product that will be available to the public in 2014.

Impossible today to release a guideline against the multiplication of all advertisements placed on the same plane: Wave was supposed to reinvent the mail, TV Google TV, Honeycomb tablets, attracted all the headlines in the press, and are all failures. Who says the Nexus Q will not experience the same fate? Google, like Microsoft, is an initiator, and the innovations presented at the Google I / O will in many areas considerably further than Apple. But it lacks a story today, a red thread, and a narrative that would allow the public to understand what this parade is important.

Sometimes make is doing too much and do too much is to do nothing. Apple's success is also that of its concentration, its ability to tell a story, to stage the product, and generate not only the act of purchase, but also the desire to use product daily, to make her life with. Google like Microsoft are likely to technological outposts, but not enough more today: both companies, especially Google, must now learn to communicate. To tempt others as geeks marvel glasses with integrated cameras.

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