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Google's claims that Nexus Q media centre is made in America questioned

Google's new Nexus Q looks like something straight out of 2001: A Space Odyssey — a ball of plastic and wires that connects to an HDTV and turns your Android phone or tablet into a media center.

But the 2 pound orb loses much of its mystique once repair manual manufacturer iFixit turned it inside out.

The company's cheeky 21-step teardown revealed that Google's claims that the product was "designed and manufactured in the U.S." may not be 100 percent true; much of the device's innards were created in Asia, then put together in America.

Though iFixit couldn't place every piece's origin, the company places them as likely being manufactured in areas that include France, Germany, China, the U.K., the Netherlands, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, India, or the Philippines.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The inner dome, what the teardown called a key component of the Q's spherical design, is believed to be American-born. When design changes arose, iFixit said, Google engineers could implement changes more quickly using U.S. manufacturers, instead of flying overseas.

No matter where they were built, the parts of the Q are extensively rounded.

"It is safe to say that we have never before torn down a device with more circular parts than this," iFixIt said.

The entire Nexus Q carries about 45 percent of its weight in its hefty base, which is also all-American, the site said, adding that the device would make for a splendid self-defense weapon in case of a home invasion.

The softball-sized globe has various input/output ports, including speaker jacks, an optical out, an Ethernet port, and Micro HDMI and USB spots. A Wi-Fi antenna allows for cloud connection, but no Web browsing.

Overall, iFixit scored the device's reparability at an eight out of 10, landing it on the "easy" end of the spectrum. Disassembly is straightforward, they said, with few components soldered to main boards, offering easy and cheap replacement. Still, so many various pieces could make for some missing parts.

Tech critics have torn the Q down themselves, with negative feedback beginning with a general explanation of the product. PCMag Editor in Chief Dan Costa, for example, said the Q is "difficult to describe" — the first sign of trouble.

The new "media center" works only with YouTube and Google Play, leaving iTunes, Netflix, and Hulu out of the question for users.

When tested in the PCMag Labs, the Q got a sterile review, earning two out of five stars. While attractively designed, analyst Will Greenwald said the device offers a "meager app selection" and a heavy reliance on Android devices that doesn't make it worth the purchase.

The Nexus Q comes with 16GB of internal flash memory, 1GB of RAM, and Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich," plus a $300 price tag. It can be pre-ordered in the Google Play Store, with shipping expected in two to three weeks.

For more, see ITProPortal's Google Nexus Q hands on.