Google has entered the video conferencing market, announcing a new device called Chromebox, which the company says will be officially launched in Australia later this year.
The Chromebox is manufactured by Google partner Asus and is based on a fourth-generation Intel Core i7 processor.
The system runs Google’s Chrome OS operating system and features four USB ports, Ethernet and WiFi, as well as four USB 3.0 ports.
It ships with a 1080p Full HD camera with a resolution of up to 1920 by 1080 pixels, as well as a microphone with a built-in digital signal processor (DSP) and a remote control.
The device uses Google’s Hangouts service to provide video conferencing and can also run other Google apps.
Third party apps, such as Vidyo, allow the device to connect to traditional video conferencing systems, while UberConference supports participants joining in as a conference call.
The Chromebox supports up to 15 participants, as well as wireless sharing of laptop, tablet and smartphone screens.
While Australian pricing for the device has not yet been released, it will come with an initial price in the US of $US999, with a $US250 management and support fee for every year it’s in service afterwards.
Google lists supermarket giant Woolworths as one of its first Chromebox customers, with business technology services program director, Deon Ludick, praising the device.
“Compared to legacy video conferencing systems, Chromebox for meetings provides a straightforward way to offer video conferences at every site.
“It is simple and more affordable than competitor products and it extends the Google Apps suite really well.”