The days of huddling around a speaker phone for long-distance conferences might be winding down if Google has anything to say about it. Google and Acer recently announced the Acer Chromebase, a new all-in-one Chrome OS computer that’s designed for video conferences. The product follows up on Chromebox, the Chrome-based video conferencing product Google released two years ago.
The new Acer all-in-one (pictured above) is meant for video conferencing in small meeting areas with most likely up to two people, not for large-scale boardroom presentations, according to Google. The computer comes with 4 GB RAM, 16 GB onboard solid-state storage, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, three USB 3.0 ports and a 1.7 GHz, dual-core Intel Celeron 3215U dual-core processor.
"The higher-power processor will be handy to support higher resolution video at faster speeds with less freezing and pixilation," Frost & Sullivan collaboration analyst Rob Arnold told us. "This can make it easier and potentially more cost effective as a small group or personal video conferencing endpoint. In addition the on-board storage is a nice feature to quickly pull up content to be shared in the conference, which is an increasingly popular capability in desktop video conferencing sessions."
Up to 25 Off-Site Participants
Data security for Chromebase is provided by the integrated TPM (Trusted Platform Module) 1.2 chip, along with the Verified Boot technology that starts automatically when the Chromebase is turned on.
It also has a 23.88-inch 1080p touch display, four integrated microphones, two stereo speakers and an adjustable HD camera. The 24-inch Full HD (1920x1080) display gives the Chromebase the largest screen of any Chrome OS device available. The screen supports up to 178-degree wide viewing angles.
The Acer Chromebase comes with enhanced management tools that send administrators alert notifications and help them track the health of their fleets of Chrome devices for meetings. Via their own computers, administrators can remotely diagnose and troubleshoot audio, video quality and bandwidth problems, as well as customize the interface using their own background images.
Chromebase runs Chrome OS, supports Google Hangouts, and allows the owner to host video conferences with up to 25 off-site participants. The initiator of the meeting only has to send a meeting link to invited participants, and from there they can join the call from their PCs, laptops, tablets or smartphones. People without Chrome hardware can join meetings from other locations as long as they have Gmail accounts.
The design and specs of the video conference-focused model are comparable to those of the Acer Chromebase 24 that was announced in January but is not yet being shipped. Acer’s Chromebase for meetings is available now for $799 via Promevo, which is a Google Apps and Chromebook reseller. The purchase price includes Google’s $250 annual charge for management and support of its video conferencing system, Chromebox for Meetings.
Released in 2014, Chromebox for Meetings includes the Chromebox unit, webcam, microphones and other accessories for $999. Although Chromebase for Meetings includes a slower processor than the one included in Chromebox, it includes all the other items for $799. The management tools that are included let IT departments remotely monitor several devices running Chrome that are deployed across an enterprise.
Image Credit: Acer Chromebase all-in-one Chrome OS computer via Google.