The shiny bowling ball is useful now, Hoorah! Well not exactly but it's getting closer to doing something other than being a REALLY expensive HDMI cable. Hackers worldwide saw a challenge in the Nexus Q when Google first mentioned its existance at IO and now the first successful hackage sees Cm9 running on it.
While it's not a fully operational yet, it does show that the Nexus Q is hackable and already sees a port of full blown XBMC for Android also run on the Nexus Q. This is something Google wanted though, as they were under no illusion about the devices hackability as stated in the official Nexus Q presentation and Demonstration at the recent IO conference, even saying they installed a microUSB port for easier hackage.
While CyanogenMod9 is operational with Wifi and Bluetooth both functional on the Nexus Q there is still a lot of bugs to be ironed out and this is merely an indicative of the potential for this mystery product of Googles. Perhaps Google knew this all along, maybe they are smarter than we give them credit for with this product, after all they didn't get to be where they are today by making unprofitable moves. Either that's the reason for the hefty price of $299 or else the fact that it's made (almost) entirely in the USA leaving out the Korean slave labourers to reliably bring down the price.