While it makes for a pretty cool demo and is a cool idea, the $300 Nexus Q streaming media player from Google is a bit too much of a niche single-use device to have much mainstream appeal in its stock configuration. Of course, part of the reason Google designed the Q is as a development platform for interesting implementations of Android on devices other than the smartphone. While it may not be exactly what Google intended, as often happens with Android devices a developer has already gotten a build of CyanogenMod 9 based on Ice Cream Sandwich to run on the Q.
As you can see in the video above, the build is hardly complete and crashes quite a bit. However, that will always get better with time, and the important thing is that development has begun and CyanogenMod already seems to run quite well including Wifi and Bluetooth. So, why is this important? Well, a full AOSP Android build like CyanogenMod opens up quite a bit of potential for the Nexus Q. Primarily, it allows the Q to function on its own without an additional Android smartphone, and when combined with the newly released XBMC for Android, could make the Q into a unique home theater device. In fact, the Q could almost become a replacement to the nearly abandoned Google TV. Not only that, as the Q is meant to be controlled with your smartphone, with some custom coding it should be possible to play Android games on the Q using your phone as a controller. The Ouya Android based gaming console certainly got a lot of attention for doing almost exactly that (with custom controllers, of course), so it seems that Android games on TV might actually be something people really want.
Obviously, the development still has quite a long way to go, but the reason I decided to highlight this first step is that I am beginning to realize that the Q has more potential to be useful than I originally thought. At first, it seemed like an overpriced luxury item with limited function, but already developers are adding features and unlocking potential. When you consider that the Q could potentially replace a $99 Ouya, $99 Roku, and possibly perform other functions, $300 doesn’t seem like quite so much. I still won’t be buying one just yet, but I will certainly be watching for breakthroughs in Nexus Q development that may finally convince me to get one.