The “new normal” has seen the rebirth of Google Meet hardware in the form of late-model Chrome OS devices and industry-leading audio/video hardware. Recent months have seen announcements from CTL and ASUS featuring powerful Google Meet Compute systems that just happened to be Core-powered Chromebooks. These Meet-specific mini PCs are paired with a range of cameras, speakers, and control components to fit the needs of just about any size room.
While Google has always worked closely with the companies that produce hardware for its software platforms, the Mountain View team has never waded into the hardware end of the pool when it comes to Meet hardware. Until now, that is. Google Cloud, in partnership with Lenovo, has just announced the upcoming Series One Google Meet Hardware kit for meetings small to large. The new kits are clearly designed in the same vein as much of Google’s latest hardware but keep a sleek and subtle look with zero brandings to be found on any of the devices, as far as we can tell.
The design isn’t the only thing that sets this new Meet Hardware kit apart from other OEMs. Google has gone the extra mile to add some extra smarts into the hardware to included two Coral M.2 accelerator modules with Google Edge TPUs which will be used for handy little tricks such as sound and voice isolation thanks to TrueVoice. The implementation of the tow Edge TPU modules indicates that Google could very well have future plans to enhance the smarts found in the Meet Hardware.
The kits come in three sizes to accommodate small, medium, and large spaces. All three bundles come with the Meet Compute System which is powered by an 8th Gen Core i7 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and a smart audio bar. The audio bar is powered by a 2.5-inch neodymium woofer, 1-inch neodymium tweeter, and 2 x passive radiators. Each kit also comes with a 1080P Full HD camera by Huddly. Upgrading to the large room kit bumps the camera to an impressive 20.3MP.
For medium and large rooms, the Series One features one or two mic pods to extend the microphone range and offers tap to speak capabilities. The large room kit also comes with a second soundbar and a 10.1″ touch controller similar to ASUS’ setup. From the landing page, it appears that the medium room kit also comes with this add-on but it isn’t listed in the spec menu. I’ll be reaching out to Google for clarification on that point. The kits come in the familiar Nest Charcoal and Chalk color options. According to The Verge, the Google Series One kits will cost $2,699, $2,999, and $3,999. This sounds really steep but my guess is that Google will be offering some features not available on other Meet devices thanks, in part, to the Edge TPU and onboard AI. To learn more about the devices, head over to the Google Cloud announcement. For pricing, you can contact Lenovo here.