Google has had an awfully big year for hardware, and its Nexus hardware lineup is as good as it has ever been. But one curious device absent from that line-up is one of the most fascinating pieces of abandonware we’ve ever seen: the Nexus Q. Enthusiasts that plunked down $299 for the pleasure of owning a tiny, headless, Android-powered amplifier can now enjoy a little KitKat with that serving of buyer’s remorse.
Developer hharte, posting at the XDA-developers forum, ported a version of the KitKat-based CyanogenMod 11 Android ROM to the Nexus Q. Based on the then-ubiquitous Texas Instruments OMAP4 system-on-a-chip (SoC), the Nexus Q is powerful enough to run Android 4.4, but support for that platform isn’t strong. As such, the port is imperfect, lacking functional Wi-Fi and suffering playback issues while using Google Play Music.
The Q didn’t review terribly well, in part due to its pared-down nature. Playback was limited to Google Play and YouTube services, with no support for popular streaming services like Netflix or Hulu. Though it ran Android 4.0, there was no way to add apps or to access any other Android functions from the device.