The Google Nexus Q is a $299 media streaming device designed to let you play music and movies purchased or rented from the Google Play Store. Out of the box, it doesn’t have a user interface. Instead, Google offers an app that lets you control media playback from your Android phone or tablet.
Under the hood the Nexus Q is running Android 4.0 — and some folks have already figured out how to convince the spherical device to play Android games and other apps — and even a program launcher, which gives the device a bit of a user interface.
CyanogenMod is a custom version of Android based on the Android Open Source Project code. Builds are available for dozens of phones and tablets, and CyanogenMod 9 is basically a version of Android 4.0 with extra performance tweaks and customization options.
The Nexus Q port is still a work in progress. WiFi and Bluetooth work, but audio does not and the system crashes periodically. But you can pair a set of external speakers over WiFi or use a remote control app on an Android phone or tablet to interact with the operating system.
Google’s media streaming device features a TI OMAP4 dual core processor, 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage. It has many of the same guts as the Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone, but without the 3G and 4G wireless capabilities or the touchscreen. So it stands to reason that it should be able to run a full version of Android reasonably well.
Once the software is a little more stable, that new XBMC app for Android could turn the Nexus Q into quite a capable media center.