Google has announced a new frontier for their Chrome platform today. With a new Chromebox, dubbed “Chromebox for Meetings”, Google is entering the enterprise space in a big way. With their minuscule desktop, they hope to make a big splash for telecommuters and businesses everywhere.
Chromebox for Meetings is — as the name suggests — centered around teleconferencing with coworkers. It also makes a great solution for two different companies to have a large, virtual roundtable. Hangouts is the back-end solution, here, and it comes with UberConference support as well as Vidyo. If you’re familiar with Hangouts, Chromebox for Meetings will come fairly natural to you.
When users join in — and they can from a Nexus 5 or 7 as well as the desktop — they do so muted so as to not interrupt what may be going on. Google has also made it easy to strike up a meeting. All you have to do is type in a name or names, and an impromptu meeting will start. This makes a great solution for larger companies with a spread-out workforce who may need some face-to-face time. Quickly start a meeting to discuss something, or schedule a larger conference — all from one back-end solution.
On the hardware end, HP, Dell, and Asus will all have Chromeboxes running Intel Core i7 chipsets as well as a separate microphone and speaker (with remote), and full HD camera. The device will be offered direct from Google, as well as Synnex or CDW. It launches today, and has an enterprise-friendly price tag of $999. That’s before you get a display involved, too, so this one likely isn’t for the home. It does, however, come with a free year of support. After that, you can opt for 24/7 support and remote monitoring for $250/year.
$80 logitech webcam
$100 BT conference speaker
$40 BT remote
Sure an i7 chromebox will be faster and cost more, but that is a big premium for having “enterprise” in the name….unless you REALLY need help setting up a hangout (and if you do, then google has failed)