What is it with Google and round Android-powered media players? Calling into mind the ill-fated Nexus Q (odd) ball, Google today has dropped a surprise for those who were just expecting the Nexus 6 smartphone, Nexus 9 tablet, and Android 5.0, christened Lollipop. Hopefully, however, the unexpected Nexus Player is here to stay especially since it is based on a more established yet still new Android TV platform, though the question remains whether how much need there is for a dedicated Android box for the living room.

The Nexus Player is a surprise in more ways than one. Somewhat true to its getting in bed with as many partners as possible when it comes to Nexus devices, Google has opted to switch chipsets for this first Android TV device. Instead of Qualcomm or NVIDIA, it has actually ditched ARM altogether and went with an Intel instead. A 1.8 GHz quad-core Intel Atom to be exact. For graphics, it is powered by Imagination’s PowerVR Series 6. There’s only 1 GB of RAM, which might make some question its use as a gaming device. There’s also only 8 GB of storage inside, with no microSD card slot available. There is, however, a micro USB 2.0 slot for connecting external storage.


The Player connects to the TV via HDMI and to home networks via WiFI, which brings us to the second strange thing. Google advertises the Nexus Player to be Google Cast Ready, which means it practically displaces the Chromecast from its throne. For sure, some will still prefer a simpler and more portable HDMI dongle but there is definitely some overlap here. The Nexus Player, however, has many things that the Chromecast can’t do, which starts with how users will interact with it. Out of the box, the Player comes with a rather strange remote control. Strange because it has barely any buttons. It’s main point of interaction is, as you might have guessed, your voice. The other input device speaks to the Nexus Player’s broad appeal. As shown before, Android TV is also geared towards gaming, so it only stands that the Nexus Player will also have a gamepad as well. That controller, however, is is completely optional and therefore sold separately. It also remains to be seen whether the hardware is up to the task of running some of Android’s more demanding titles.


Like the rest of the new Nexus brood, the Nexus Player isn’t going to be available for pre-order until 17th October. The game controller won’t even be available until November 3. Pricing is also currently unknown, so keep tabs on our Nexus Player coverage to be updated when that information hits the Internet.


SOURCE: Nexus Player