Inside Extreme Scale Tech|Saturday, September 20, 2014
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Strayed in America 

Google raised some happy eyebrows earlier this summer when the company decided to manufacture its Nexus Q streaming media device in the United States. The firm was closemouthed about most other aspects of the manufacturing decision, not even revealing where the spheroid competitor to Apple TV and Roku was to be built.

Made in America’s always good news, but the story’s changed slightly as the first product reviews of the Nexus Q were… somewhat less than stellar.

The New York Times called the device “baffling,” noting that a $300 price tag and limited functionality compared to its competition do the thing no favors. Tech site Engadget described the Nexus Q as a “high-priced novelty,” and an unironic Google search for “Google Nexus Q” reveals a front page full of lukewarm-to-blistering preliminary reviews and assorted tutorials on how to hack the device to extend its usefulness.

In light of the press, Google has delayed the Nexus Q’s consumer release to make improvements. The good news is that the media streamer’s hardware and industrial design were almost universally praised; reviewers saved their bile for the system software – an easier and less costly fix than scrapping physical inventory. The indefinite postponement of the Nexus Q may be a disappointment to early adopters and a reminder that “designed and manufactured in America” doesn’t necessarily equate with “fantastic.” But despite the shortcomings the initial Nexus Q apparently had, Google deserves applause not only for the USA-centric manufacturing decision, but the call to halt the lines and fix the thing rather than pretend reviews were rosy.

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