From all reports, it appears the Google Nexus Player has sung its last tune. Having been pulled from most retailer locations a few weeks ago and no longer available from Google directly, for now, it appears Google is content to allow Chromecast to take the lead in their TV/living room-integration efforts.
Too bad, too. The hockey puck-shaped Nexus Player always worked easily and reliably in our tests and, other than the lack of 3rd party developer integration, seemed to be a worthy contender to Roku and Amazon Fire TV. Google’s fourth attempt at capturing your attention in the living room, it featured Android TV, voice search and plenty of app/games to satisfy most (rabid and niche :)) needs. One thing it did do was cement Google’s ability to design a functional and user-friendly TV program/app guide… Android TV was probably our favorite part of the Nexus Player and has recently been successfully integrated into 3rd party TVs, so if you were a fan, expect its market share to grow in the coming months.
But, as far as the Nexus Player goes, if you own one, enjoy but you’re unlikely to be able to upgrade or do much with it once its technology becomes obsolete (in a couple years or so). Its upstart counterpart, the Google Chromecast, is a solid alternative if/when you decide to switch. The little dongle that slides into your TV and lets you cast just about anything (radio, movies, TV programs, etc.) from your mobile device to your TV, has become quite the sleeper hit in cord-cutting circles.
Either way, keep an eye out for Google’s next foray into the living room. If we’ve learned anything over the years, they’re uber resilient in both technological advancement and market timing. In my opinion, the Nexus Player was a stepping stone to the next big (TV) thing from the folks at Google.