Xbox and Nexus Q
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The breakdown - Microsoft's Xbox 360 versus Google's Nexus Q

In last decade there have been many great rivaleries: Tyson Vs. Hollifield, Baggy pants vs Skinny Jeans, Alien VS. Predator - the list just goes on and on. Now a new fight is brewing: Google's Nexus Q and Microsoft's Xbox 360.

Google has recently announced their new form of media consumption for their users. It's small, round, glows like Tron, and  looks a bit like the Death Star. This sphere will go head to head with the Xbox 360. Microsoft has been rebranding the Xbox 360 for the last few years, turning it from an exclusive gaming system to your main media device. More and more people have been using the console to watch movies, stream music, and to video chat. With Smart Glass coming out hopefully in the fall, Microsoft will be integrating your phone or tablet as both a second screen and remote control.

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The Nexus Q is Google's attempt to make a device to stream your content to your stereo or television through the Play brand. Let's face it, no matter where you look, every OS is putting up walls to make sure you invest in only them. Apple started it, Android is now playing by their rules, and Microsoft is sharing Smart Glass with iOS and Android. Microsoft knows its platform, and people who own an Xbox may own iPhones or Android phones; they are making a smart move by making it available on all platforms to ensure its success.

Android has a large market share but most Android owners barely use Gmail, let alone the whole ecosytem. Nearly 75 percent of apps in the Android market are free and riddled with ads. Google is trying to expand their services and this device is their attempt. The Nexus Q streams media via tablet or phone. That is, you controll it from your phone, and then it pulls down music from your Google Play account directly to the device, or movies and TV episodes straight from Google. Anyone with an Android phone can sync their media to the Q through wifi -- so long as that feature is turned on in the device's settings. Or, if you don't want to hear that new Bieber song, just hide your Wi-Fi password. 

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Google wants this to be a social experience, for people to invite friends over share some food, some drink, and their music. In theory, this sounds like a fun time. In reality, I have seen fights break out, relationships end, and friendships broken, all because everyone wanted to play the DJ. That is what I foresee with the Q.

There is no security feature, anyone who has an Android device that is running Android 2.3 Gingerbread (once this thing's officially released, anyway) can put their music or video into your Q and voila, they just interrupted your sweet party mix that took you spent all day on. I think it is a novel idea, but even Google said, "Hack it." They know this device has promise, but don't know how to expand on their idea.  They want the hackers to do what they will to make it usable. ... Another page taken from Microsoft.

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The Xbox 360 has been refined to a media device, especially after last fall's Metro update. I love using my voice to control my console to stream music and videos. I catch myself using it more and more for media than actually playing games on it. This is Microsoft's goal, to turn their system into the ultimate media consumption device. With Smart Glass, their companion app, the media aspect is amped up to the max, enabling your device to connect to your Xbox 360 and push content onto it while turning the device into a remote or secondary screen with more info.

Microsoft has the advantage because almost every home has a 360. To make a free app available for not only Windows Phone but also iOS and Android is an incredibly smart move. They have already sold the hardware, so why not give the software away? With Smart Glass, you have access to the content on your device but also what is on your Xbox and Live account. 

The Nexus Q is going to sell for $299.99 for a Wi-Fi stereo with built-in amp. The Xbox 360 with 4GB sells for $199.99, a hundred dollars less and you get more out of the device. The 360 is a gaming system, media device, and with Kinect a personal trainer. (Or you can buy the 360 for $99 with a $15 monthly 2-year subscription).

When you compare both devices, the Q is just a tiny Death Star that will be destroyed eventually by Luke. The real hindrance for the Q is that it only works with devices that have Jellybean. Android is struggling to get Ice Cream Sandwhich on their devices, and that update has been out since December. Microsoft will hopefully launch their Surface Tablets and Windows 8 in the fall, and Smart Glass should be ready when they are.

In my eyes, the Xbox 360 has already won this battle. What do you think?

Top image credit of Nexus Q (back) via iFixit.com

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Reader comments

The breakdown - Microsoft's Xbox 360 versus Google's Nexus Q

62 Comments

No contest. The 360 is already a dominent console, with the PS3 picking up the slack. The Q will provide no incentive to switch from using either of the existing consoles, which can also play pretty damn good games.  The Q is trying to compete with current gen tech, when both Sony and MSFT have a next-gen console coming out soon. 

A simple Bluetooth receiver attached to your stereo will do the same thing. You can stream music from your phone all damn day. The Xbox 360 is in a totally different league.

I agree with your whole premise.  I didn't understand the Q, and since it is limited to Android devices running JB, not a very smart move by Google.  As you put it, Google said "hack it."  They clearly ran out of ideas for it's use.
 
Plust, with DLNA, why would someone want to pay $299 for yet another physical device?  Not a smart move by Google.

I think Q is trying to go after AppleTV more than XBOX. AppleTV started as a hobby device as a way to use your iTunes media on a TV, but Apple's investment in the device was lackluster(I would argue it still is).  
From a Microsoft perspective, neither device poses a threat. Anyone who buys an AppleTV will generally do that in addition to the XBOX. Microsoft's rivals have been and always will be Nintendo and Sony when it comes to gaming machines.  And Microsoft seems to have a leg up on both of them.
The Q will go the way of GoogleTV.  At this point consumers really just need to ask themselves one question: "Do I need yet another device attached to my TV?" I'm guessing the answer is no.

You certinally are missing something.  In case you hadn't noticed the Xbox 360 is a gaming system and a media device.  And a very good media device at that.  All for less then this google ball.

The 360 wears many hats very well, this latest google spybox is a one trick pony for the same price. Pointless to anyone but a rabid google fanboy (of which there are many, judging by the youtube video comments).

The Xbox has a very powerful edge. Anyone who wants to play Xbox games will have one. That's millions of people who have very little incentive to pay an extra $300 for something that does what their Xbox already does. 
According to VGChartz.com, there are currently 37.6 million Xbox owners in North America, and 67.2 million worldwide. That's a lot of people who have absolutely have no need for a Nexus.

I think the Q is an overpriced and not very useful piece of hardware too, but the real competitor is the AppleTV and AirPlay mirroring.  
 
The 360 still can't even do DLNA/Play To functionality, which is what the OLD version of AirPlay did, before they added mirroring.  It seems likely that'll come in a fall update, but it's still far behind AirPlay Mirroring, which lets you broadcast content from nearly any application, game, etc. to your TV.
 
On top of that, Microsoft seems to prefer streaming directly to the playback device.  So if I download a video to my tablet, and then want to play it on the 360, instead of using DLNA or something like that to broadcast from the tablet to the 360, they want the 360 to seamlessly pick up where I was at on the tablet, streaming from the Internet (similar to how the Q works).  I personally think the Apple method is far superior in this aspect.

That uses UPnP.  You cannot use the DLNA "Play To" functionality with a 360 unless you're in Media Center Extender mode, which defeats the purpose.

Twonky and those other content hosts broadcast a special UPnP windows media protocol that is NOT, i repeat NOT DLNA compliant!  As others have said you cannot use out of the box DLNA functionality with the Xbox.  It just doesnt work.

Of course, I mentioned that in my original post.
 
But even then, it's still a generation behind Apple's AirPlay Mirroring.

But But But, Nexus Q is made in America!!!
 
Go America!
Also, it is Holyfield not Hollifield :p

XBOX. For this current generation, there is no substitute. It and Windows software for it's PCs and laptops are the reason it has such a head start in the building of an ecosystem. In 2 years, everything from WP to Bing and Hotmail will benefit from it.

This isn't a fair comparison. It like comparing a bugatti to a pinto. Games, Kinnect and PC like features on the Xbox makes Microsoft the superior product. Sorry Google, keep making the sub par stuff because without you we don't get the good stuff from Microsoft.

This isn't a fight. The Nexus Q is just an overpriced mystery. If you listen to the Vergecast from two weeks ago (just watch it), you can tell of how confusing and limited the Q is.

There is a conflicting piece of evidence in this story. Toward the beginning it mentions that due to no security that anyone with a GB device could stream their music on to the Q, however later in the article and also echoed here in comments a few times is the requirement for JB. Not that I care a jot as the XBox is clearly superior but does that point need clarifying?

The Only thing good about the Google Nexus Q... Is that it is made (Err...Assembled) in the Good 'ol US of A.... Other than that it's just another Google Mess...

I don't even understand why these are being compared.. A smart tv box is $50 and does more than this nexus q.. Xbox is gaming, media, and social all in one

One item that bugs me about the 360 is how you must have a Gold membership for Netflix or Hulu Plus.  I have two 360s, and it is not possible to have one playing Hulu and the other playing Netflix unless I have 2 Gold memeberships (or family plan).  I'm already paying monthly for both of these services, why should it be tied into my Live membership?  My blue ray player, Ruku, etc. don't have this additional membership cost.  I will always have a Gold membership because I use it for gaming, but I really think they should drop the requirement for Netflix/Hulu Plus if this really is to be a media center.  Curious what others think about this?

My live just expired and I refuse to renew.  Setting up a wall is just stupid and I've only had live for a total of 2 years.  I can only imagine how the people feel that have been paying since the original XBOX.  Definitely picking up a Wii-U in the fall.  It's going to be hard to wait for Borderlands 2 to hit PC but I really am going to hold out on paying for XBOX live again.  I'd sale it if it wasn't for Dance Central 2. ;)

Thats why I watch Netflix on my Ps3, I only use the Xbox360 for games and the "occational" movie rental.

That's Google for you. They want their fingers in everything but rarely do a complete job with those efforts. I hope they never get focused.

I don't get the point of that article as there's still much we don't know about SmartGlass. Will it actually work like Apple TV, will it be as easy, will it allow streaming of all content (i.e everything including torrents), etc. Basically it needs to be an Apple TV that doesn't care about locking you into an ecosystem.
I would expect to read this on wmpoweruser to be fair, please don't get down the "mine is bigger than yours" road too.

What I see is a toy. Not a media system.. Xbox clearly foes alot more.. Plus, if you have an Xbox and smart glass.. Why spend money to get the same thing..

It's hard to take the 360 seriously as a media consumption device when it doesn't even read blu-ray discs. I'll be honest, I only use my Xbox to play games; I'd love to have an "all in one" unit, but I don't see that happening anytime soon with a satellite tv receiver, blu ray player, etc.

that would have made sense if the majority of consumption consumers didn't watch more streamed content vs hard media...i don't know what the next version of the Xbox will be but the 360 is dated, based on ideas of those years, hardware on the system is limited (2006) so to make that point doesn't make sense...next version will bring all functionality of all media type devices all in one...hopefully

I can't undertand how come the author of the post even campred the XBOX 360 with the Q. Its like camparing a Bicycle with a MotorBike just becos it has 2 wheels and it can move on the road.

I would never buy this. This seems like an idea that should have stayed in the lab. It probably got approved at one of those mixers they were having in the video. And as a real DJ, I can tell you one thing, a party does not need 20+ "DJs"trying to play stuff. Most people have no sense of what it takes to create a vibe in a room. Years of fielding terrible requests taught me that.

If the "Q" were 50$ instead of 300$ I might could see some people buying it that are heavily invested in the Google ecosystem. I think the price point is going to put it out of anyone's grasp with a brain in their head.

Maybe I misread something. You must have jellybean to use it, but you can load music with gingerbread?

"almost every home has a 360"? On which planet? Sorry, but that statement isn't even close to being remotely true.

I am avid fan of the WP7 devices, and a huge supporter of Windows 8, but I loath the Xbox 360 for its closed garden that is Xbox Live or nothing at all. I am sorry, but I will always prefer the Playstation series of consoles over any other competitor, because, I always get the most cutting edge loaded right in at the start. Plus I know if I want to watch Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, PSN video library, and the soon to be released Crunchyroll app for PS3. Did I mention already has Blue Ray? Sony has done more to deliver this generation than any other company in the console market. Plus you get free games each month for signing up for Playstation Plus, but if you don't want to, you can still play all of your games online for free anyway. please keep in mind I am a Microsoft fan, but this is the truth in the console market. Sony +1 Microsoft +0 Google -1

I have all three of the current gen consoles, so I am well aware of what they are all capable of doing. However, I find the Playstation 3 to be above the Xbox 360 in functionality.
If you think the Playstation is just a play/station as you put it, then what do you consider the Xbox 360 which lacks functionality such as a blue ray player, web browser, free online access to your netflix, hulu and amazon prime memberships?
I am sorry, but when I pay as much as the systems cost when they first came out, and xbox lack of a blue ray player at the prices that were charged is ridiculous. And to only offer it later as an expensive and ugly attachement for the Xbox 360 is just a slap in the face to the consumer.
If you really want to bring up the sales numbers of the two systems, it is not as big a gap as you make it out to be either with the Xbox 360 at 67.2 million, and the Playstation 3 at 65.1 million.
Which is something that speaks volumes about Sony as they released their console a year later than the Xbox 360 and at a slightly higher price point, but at least they all come with a hard drive, which I cannot say the same about the Xbox.
Also, you can use your Playstation 3 to access your home media server same as your Xbox 360.
I don't want to bring games into this discussion, because, they are purely opinion based on which exclusives are better than the others.
Source of the sales numbers: http://www.vgchartz.com/