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Google to take on Apple TV with $299 'Nexus Q'

Google on Wednesday unveiled a new $299 hardware device called the "Nexus Q" that allows users to stream music, movies and music from the Google Play storefront.

Like the $99 Apple TV, Google's Nexus Q will allow users to connect their mobile devices to an HDTV or entertainment center. Content available on an Android phone or tablet, including YouTube, can be streamed to the Nexus Q.

The sphere-shaped Nexus Q can be connected to an HDTV, a sound system, or even just a set of speakers. Google has dubbed the device as the "first social streaming media player," as it allows users to create collaborative music queues with friends adding their own songs to a playlist.

The Nexus Q runs on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and is powered by a dual-core OMAP 4460 processor. It features 16 gigabytes of built-in storage and will be available in mid-July for $299.

In addition to connecting to external devices, it also features a built-in 25-watt amp that allows the Nexus Q to power speakers without a separate A/V receiver. It also has an optical audio port and Ethernet jack; Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC support; and HDMI output along with an included HDMI cable.

The Nexus Q will support content from Google-centric applications including Google Play Music, Google Play Movies, Google Play TV, and YouTube.

The media streaming device is different from the Android-based Google TV platform that the search giant launched as an Apple TV competitor in 2010. But Google TV, which has been found on hardware built by third-party developers, offers features like Web browsing and installable applications, while the Nexus Q is portrayed as a device that integrates tightly with Google Play content and nearby Android mobile devices.