Google partners with Lenovo for Meet hardware kits

  • Google partners with Lenovo for Meet hardware kits

Google partners with Lenovo for Meet hardware kits

The high resolution makes digital PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) effects and automatic participant framing possible, Google says.

Google have improved Google Meet with many new features this year. 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. Exact timing isn't known yet, but pricing starts at $2,699 for the Small Room Kit. 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. Google promises that distracting sounds, like typing, shuffling, and snacking, "are filtered out completely, but voices are crystal clear".

Google has had to play catchup with the likes of Zoom, Microsoft Teams and others, both of which are already staples in the conference room and boast a litany of hardware partnerships for AV professionals and IT departments to choose from.

Depending on what version of the Series One hardware you purchase, you'll may also be able to control meetings via a rechargeable remote control or a 10.1-inch display.

The company's design intent looks not to the current environment where everyone is appearing at meetings in their pajamas, but one where parts of the workforce are cycled into the office and group meetings are held in large rooms with socially-distanced participants. Everything is securely managed through the Google Admin console, including setup, status checks and minor issue resolution without having to visit the room. To help monitor room utilization and maintain safety protocols, each kit can anonymously sense the number of room participants and visits. But like its predecessors, it's built on top of Chrome OS, which means automatic over-the-air updates and hardware that is always running the latest firmware.

A single power source architecture with PoE (Power-over-Ethernet) and a color-coded cable management system for components helps to reduce cable clutter and simplify installation, while significantly lowering costs.

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. One-touch audio calibration for room acoustics can automatically optimize system audio settings for different room sizes and surfaces.

The kits have been created to blend into any room and are available in Charcoal and Chalk and feature Google's easily recognisable fabric and industrial design. In fact, all the Series One products feature the same rounded corners and fabric that's prevalent in other Google hardware. While Lenovo is a partner in the launch of the new equipment, Google also said it may have other products with different device makers for the series in the future. "So this is the first of the Series One devices".