Google Quietly Kills Nexus Player. What Does This Mean for Android TV!
Google recently confirmed that it has finally stopped selling Nexus Player on its own store. Also, it does not have any plans to revive the product later on, or release another version of it. In other words, Nexus Player now rests in peace. Most consumers recognize the Nexus Player as just another set top box. For many, it was never in their list of preferred choices. Granted, at the time of its release, it was nothing more than a showpiece. It did not have some of the most important streaming services such as Amazon Prime and HBO. However, in the recent times, Nexus Player had turned into something that had the potential to give the top streaming devices a run for their money. Yet, Google pulled the plug on it. This is not some haphazard corporate decision. There is a lot more to it.
First of all, Nexus Player wasn’t Google’s first attempt to invade our living rooms. It followed the remarkably abysmal performance of the much-touted Google TV. Faced with such a huge disappointment, Google decided to revamp the whole thing, and then released the Nexus Player. The puck shaped Nexus Player looked quite nice for living rooms. But, it did not have a lot to offer to the consumers. It did not have some of the critical streaming services, which made it less appealing. There was no development support for the device initially, but that was soon to be fixed. But, there was one aspect of Nexus Player that pushed its sales, even when it did not offer much.
The set top box became the default device people used to retrofit their non-smart TVs with Android TV OS. This way, people could enjoy quite a lot of functionalities and features of smart TVs without actually owning one.
However, all of this changed dramatically over the past couple of years. The Android TV OS has attracted an amazing level of development. A dizzying array of apps have been released on the OS, exclusively for the TV viewers. The overall experience of Android improved dramatically with this. Despite all these changes, Nexus Player never tasted the same success as Chromecast. It isn’t hard to understand why. The level of convenience offered by Chromecast is truly exceptional. You hook this stick into the back of your TV, and stream content from your Android phone or tablet. All of this with a device that costs less than $40.
As for Nexus Player, it lost its relevance pretty soon. The friendly user interface, and the familiarity of the platform, were the USPs of Android TV OS Nexus Player. But, Google made Android TV available for everyone from the beginning. Eve NVIDIA Shield TV sports the same operating system. Thus, Nexus Player was offering nothing that was unique to its customers. Moreover, TV manufacturers soon began to incorporate Android TV within their TVs itself. When the Android interface was already available internally in the TVs, it made no sense for the customers anymore to buy an additional device for that. People could use the Android TV OS on their smart TVs to do everything that they could do with the Nexus Player, including download their favorite apps, and enjoy their choice of content. Even the TVs, which did not incorporate Android TV OS in them, had other platforms of their own, as decided by the manufacturer.
All of this indicates that the Nexus Player from Google was a huge failure. But, is it though?
Well, the thing with any of Google’s Nexus devices is that Google never intended to develop them into full-fledged product families. These flagship products are Google’s way of showing the manufacturers what their “OS” is capable of doing, and how to do it. For instance, Google’s Nexus range of phones highlighted the simplicity, efficiency, friendliness of the UI, and raw power of the operating systems, which they were running on. Because people loved those devices, other phone manufacturers began to keep the Android OS on their phones as much stock-like as possible. Google did this to the tablets as well with its Nexus 7 and Nexus 9. Now, it was the turn of Nexus Player in the TV industry.
By effectively showcasing the manufacturers how super-efficient its user interface is, and how much the consumers love its familiarity, Google managed to get a permanent home for Android TV among the TV manufacturers. In other words, Google’s main goal, which was to invade our living room, has been a spectacular success, just like the internet giant wanted. But of course, Google was never going to stop at this, right? Or did you think it would?
If you thought so, then here is some news for you. Google is releasing another gadget later this year, the Google Home smart speaker. With this product, Google is attempting to match Amazon Echo. The new device will be equipped with Google’s latest intelligent assistant. It will probably sport voice activation and control features, and will connect to various smart home products. It will even enable you to stream music via Google cast. Sure, the product itself is offering a whole bundle of slick features. But, will Google put all of its weight behind this product? If you understand Google strategy for consumer products, then you already know the answer to this question is – No, it won’t. The reason is pretty simple. Whether Google Home smart speaker tastes the same level of success as Chromecast or not is practically immaterial to Google. It has a bigger agenda here. With this new product, it will do to the audio equipment industry what it has previously done to smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs. In the end, Google will end up ruling the audio equipment industry too.
By the way, just because Google isn’t selling any Nexus Players right now, doesn’t mean you can’t get hold of one. All major retailers have run out of their stocks of the Nexus Player for months. But, Google has confirmed that many of the smaller retailers still have a limited number of stocks left. So, if you wish to buy one, you may find it with a small retailer.