Google have been making leaps and bounds in expanding their range of products. And while the superb Nexus 7 tablet has overshadowed most of their other recent advances (its only real issue was the fact demand was so extreme, they’ve sold out in virtually every market), Google’s real innovation was the Google Nexus Q, a spherical home-streaming device intended to compete with Apple’s proprietary Apple TV. The Nexus Q was a real step up for Google, since it’s the first product they’ve actually manufactured in-house: even the Nexus 7 was constructed by third-party manufacturer Asus, a Taiwanese company who Google have co-operated with in the past. But unlike the smooth sailing of the Nexus 7, the Nexus Q was rebuffed on announcement: most reviewers and developers criticized the device for its high price tag ($299.99) and deficit of features (an inability to stream non-Google apps). So how did Google respond to the detractors? With the typical showmanship we’ve come to expect from the search and mobile giant, they’ve decided to delay the Nexus Q in order to add more features. But instead of just closing sales of the Nexus Q, they refunded the cost of purchase to all consumers, and announced that everyone who pre-ordered the device prior to this announcement will still receive their pre-adjustment Nexus Q free of charge. It’s a savvy move that’s fostered some real goodwill towards the company; the pain of having to wait longer for the home-streaming device has been offset by the fact that it’s now likely to feature much greater cross-platform compatibility with applications like Netflix and Hulu, permitting a diverse range of uses for the device, and their act of charity towards existing consumers gives them some breathing space to avoid criticism. We have to wonder why Google didn’t consider this in the first place, however. As a home-streaming device created by Google, the Nexus Q is naturally positioned as a rival to Apple TV, since the Cupertino-based corporation is by far Google’s biggest rival already in the Smartphone and tablet markets. Did Google really expect a device priced $200 more expensively than their competitor, with a reduced range of applications, to compete on equal footing? Some have argued that the Nexus Q was always intended to be a device appealing to the hard-core, bleeding edge Google enthusiasts: hackers have already succeeded in jury-rigging the device to perform a number of functions, including playing games and launching applications like Netflix to stream home movies. But no matter how loyal Google’s fanatical core of customers may be, the average user simply isn’t prepared to crack open their $299 device in order to tinker with it, and you can’t sustain a product by appealing solely to a minority. With that said, Google have certainly been making measures to amend their initial error, and the future looks bright for the Nexus Q. The price tag may still be a stumbling block for many, but if they manage to increase the ease with which the average user can utilize a broad range of apps, they stand to make a tidy little profit on their investment. In the end, it’s not even about the money with the Nexus Q: the plucky little sphere is a statement that Google can go toe-to-toe with Apple, not just in terms of software and marketing, but also in terms of hardware manufacturing and design. It’s no coincidence that the brains behind the Nexus Q were two former Apple employees – there’s more than a little of the Cupertino-based company in its sleek, streamlined and minimalistic design. Whether the Nexus Q falls or rises, Google have thrown their chips on the table: for better or worse, they’re now looking to compete on equal terms with Apple, across every spectrum. Only time will tell whether or not they manage to succeed.