Feb 12, 2014 01:48 PM EST
Google already had an established presence in the videoconferencing space with Google+ Hangouts, and last week the company announced a new turnkey hardware solution called Chromebox that would combine Hangouts and Google Apps to deliver high definition video meetings to any room with a display.
The Chromebox is assembled by ASUS and powered by an Intel Core i7 processor. It includes an HD camera, microphone, speaker unit and remote control. Google’s main selling proposition with the Chromebox seems to be ease-of-use. The company touts that users can simply walk into a room and click the remote to join a meeting without needing to enter any PINs or dial-in codes.
“The best meetings are face-to-face—we can brainstorm openly, collaborate closely and make faster decisions. But these days, we often connect with each other from far-flung locations, coordinating time zones and dialing into conference calls from our phones. Meetings need to catch up with the way we work—they need to be face-to-face, easier to join, and available from anywhere and any device. Starting today, they can be: Any company can upgrade their meeting rooms with a new Chromebox, built on the Chrome principles of speed, simplicity and security,” the company said in a Google Blog post.
The Chromebox is currently available only in the U.S. and retails for $999. Google says it will launch Chromeboxes later this year in Australia, Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and the U.K. and will farm out some of the manufacturing work to HP and Dell in addition to ASUS.
“Companies like Eventbrite, Gilt, oDesk and Woolworths have been testing Chromebox for meetings, and have told us that they love the simple setup, the ease of use, and being able to see their colleagues in other offices. More importantly, the low price will enable them to extend these benefits to even more employees, rooms and offices,” the company said.
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