What The Hell Is A Qube?

Since there weren't already enough strangely shaped, wireless computers to plug into your television, Asus on Monday announced a new one at CES called the Qube. It's a Google TV-powered device, but instead of bringing clarity to the Google TV product line, it adds even more confusion - if such a thing is possible.

The Qube has a custom Asus interface, and it uses Asus' own cloud storage service instead of Google's. Just what the brutally low-margin TV business needs: more infighting with itself.

From Q to Qube

First, Google made something called a Nexus Q. It was the most inscrutable computer-like object of 2012 - a heavy, glowing orb that does the same things as every other decent smart TV box. Except for the TV part, which is what Google TV is for.

The Q was supposed to cost three hundred freaking dollars until Google un-launched it because no one understood what it was, and there's still no word on if or when it will re-launch. (I have been trying to give mine away since Google I/O, and no one will take it.)

What About Google TV?

The obvious question about the Nexus Q was, what about Google TV? Google TV has been a failure so far. Would there be an official Nexus-branded Google TV box to set things right by standardizing and streamlining the interface?

Well, not yet. There's just this mythical CES beast called a Qube by Asus. No Nexus brand, no price, no release date. It has a "rotating on-screen cube" interface for a motion-sensitive remote or smartphone, which sounds insane to use, and it's backed by 50GB of Asus's own WebStorage service. So this thing actually competes with Google, even though Google approved it.

Sure. Sounds like a slam dunk.

I'm sure this contraption is very exciting to everyone at the Consumer Electronics Show, which is known for being attended by zero consumers. As for real "consumers," it's probably fine that they would have no idea what a Qube is or what to do with it. After all, plenty of CES gadgets never get released - what difference will one more make?