Google delays widely-panned "Nexus Q" orb gadget

SAN FRANCISCO Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:59pm EDT

Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt talks about the Nexus Q at the Allen & Co Media Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho July 12, 2012. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt talks about the Nexus Q at the Allen & Co Media Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho July 12, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Jim Urquhart

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc is postponing the launch of the Nexus Q, the Internet giant's first self-designed and marketed consumer electronics device, in a smudge on its budding hardware credentials.

The company announced the indefinite delay of the orb-shaped media player device in an email on Tuesday to customers who had pre-ordered the made-in-America gadget, saying it wanted to add more features and functions. It offered a "preview version" of the streaming device for free instead.

Unveiled alongside the better-reviewed Nexus 7 tablet at Google's I/O event in June, the Nexus Q received much less fanfare than the Google-designed tablet.

Many reviews of the device focused on its lack of usability and features. It was slated to go on sale this month.

As part of Google's foray into consumer hardware, the Nexus Q was touted as being made in the U.S.A. and reflected the nascent trend of "reshoring" manufacturing operations.

The cross between a streaming video box and an audio amplifier is Google's first end-to-end hardware undertaking, a facet of its broader push into a hardware arena dominated by Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics. Apart from the Nexus 7, Google is also promoting its "Google Glass" augmented-reality eyeglasses.

The Internet search leader began selling the Nexus 7 this month, to strong reviews.

(Reporting By Mauro Whiteman; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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