Google is announcing two new hardware devices designed specifically to work with Google Meet and to look like Google hardware. The Series One Desk 27 and Series One Board 65 are both made by Avocor but are part of the Series One program where Google specifically blesses devices that are custom-built for Meet. They even include a custom Google Edge TPU chip in addition to a more standard Intel Core i5.
As its name implies, the Series One Desk 27 is a 27-inch display that has custom speakers, mics, a camera, and a touchscreen. In addition to using it as a standalone videoconferencing device, the Desk 27 can also be used as a laptop monitor. It has a USB-C plug on the back and when you dock in, your laptop can use its AV array for video calls and take advantage of 45W USB-C PD charging, too.
That all sounds like a work-from-home dream come true, but these are not really devices meant for consumers. Instead, Google envisions them mounted to walls in small conference rooms or sitting on open desks in an office. And like pretty much all enterprise-focused hardware, even the 27-inch model is not cheap at $1,999.
Unlike most enterprise-focused hardware, the Series One Desk 27 feels like it’s of a piece with Google’s recent hardware aesthetic. The curves are softened and the soundbar on the bottom is covered with fabric that would look natural sitting next to a Google Home Mini.
Although it uses Chrome OS to power its standalone Google Meet capabilities, the Desk 27 can’t really be used as a traditional all-in-one computer. However, there is a lot of impressive technology for videoconferencing built in — compared to a typical laptop, anyway.
The 5-megapixel camera has a 100-degree field of view, can zoom and pan to keep subjects in focus, and also has a privacy shutter. There are eight microphones that use the TPU and Google’s AI for getting rid of ambient noise.
The display itself is a touchscreen and can also be used with the included stylus as a whiteboard. It’s a 1440p, 16:9 display that auto adjusts both color and brightness for ambient lighting conditions.
Alongside both this hardware and other Google Workspace announcements, the company says it has a partnership with Cisco that should mean hardware designed for either Meet or Webex will interoperate. So the Series One Desk 27 will be able to dial into Webex calls and Webex-specific hardware should be able to dial into Google Meet. As for Zoom, there’s nothing to announce beyond what’s sitting next to the device’s ethernet and HDMI-out ports: that USB-C port which turns the Desk 27 into an external monitor.
Even with its special speakers, mics, and camera, it’s too expensive for consumers. But for businesses that have adopted Google Meet company-wide, it might be worth a look.
The Series One Desk 27 should be available later this year, while the larger Series One Board will come out next year.