Google announces Nexus Q to compete with Apple TV

The streaming device costs $299 and will ship in July

Google on Wednesday announced the Nexus Q streaming device, which will streaming movies and music from the cloud and will compete with direct Apple TV.

The circular device can stream movies purchased from the Google Play store or from Youtube to high-definition TVs, the company said at the Google I/O conference being held in San Francisco. Users will also be able to stream music purchased from Google Play store directly to stereo systems.

Users can choose a song from the Google Play Music application from a phone or tablet and play it instantly on Nexus Q. Similarly, a tablet or smartphone can be used to browse movies and TV shows from Google Play for playback on Nexus Q.

Google also pointed out the "social streaming" feature on the device, where guests at a party with Android phones or tablets can share music from their collection for playback.

The Nexus Q is designed to be a companion device to Google's Play store and will compete with Apple's Apple TV device, which can play back movies purchased from the iTunes store. iPad and iPhone can also stream movies directly to TV sets via Apple TV.

The device has a diameter of 116 millimeters, and weighs 923 grams. It has the Android 4.0 OS code-named Ice Cream Sandwich and runs on a dual-core OMAP4460 processor from Texas Instruments.

Its wireless connectivity features include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC (near-field communication). The device has micro-HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) and Ethernet ports.

The Nexus Q costs US$299 and can be ordered now with shipping in July. Google is offering accessories including $399 Triad Bookshelf Speakers.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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