On Wednesday, September 8, Google and a handful of their new and established hardware partners launched a new round of Series One Google Meet Hardware equipment.
The headliner of this launch (the Series One Board 65) replaces the good old Jamboard, which launched back in 2016 (released in 2017). An open secret of the Jamboard is its operating system. It’s not Chrome OS; it’s rocking Android. In contrast, these new hardware kits are being launched on Chrome OS, allowing for better continuous updates and less fragmentation on the development side.
So what’s the deal with these new kits?
The new Series One Board 65 is built from the ground up to incorporate Google Meet and Jamboard on the same device. Thus its camera is much more potent than the one shipped built into the Jamboard. In addition, with its 65” screen it is 10” bigger than the Jamboard; a much-needed increase to enable Meet and Jam on the same screen while keeping visibility for the whole room. As a result, this device will fit in perfectly with your hybrid collaboration spaces in your offices and meeting rooms and ensure seamless collaboration between your team members on the board and on their laptops (at home; or halfway across the globe).
The collaboration between Google and Avocor brought us another very interesting device. The Series One Desk 27 is a 27” 2K touchscreen built for small spaces or a high-end home office setup centerpiece. Its built-in speaker, microphone, and camera will make you look good in a meeting while allowing for seamless collaboration on a Jamboard. Or, if you prefer, you can use your laptop and connect it to the device to ensure that you have your other work at your fingertips while you’re in a meeting. Using the USB-C connection, you’ll still be able to use the touchscreen and the video and audio equipment. A good all-in-one monitor; with a price.
Logitech launched several updates and new hardware, but the one I find most exciting and will be getting for my desk is the Logi Dock. The Dock is a Deskbound microphone and speaker combination that also includes a USB hub with the ability to connect your monitor and charge your laptop. In addition, the dock and all other devices launched have built-in noise cancellation for your listeners. Allowing you to break free from headsets enables an excellent experience for any private office, at home, or co-located in the same building.
This traveler's accessory was launched last. The RAYZ Rally Pro is a docking station for your phone that enables you to have a Meet conference anywhere by simply plugging in your phone and joining using the app. Its big, central mute button allows you to quickly mute yourself when you need to order a new latte in your “office,” rather than to fiddle with the app to find the button.
I want to end on the reasoning behind these kits for an executive making decisions. Why invest in expensive hardware like this? Why would you get the RAYZ Rally Pro, or why should you get the Desk 27? Well, the worst thing when it comes to building a hybrid culture is friction. If it is hard for people to connect, including everything from joining, hearing, and speaking, and ends at the emotional connection built-in every conversation, be it virtual or physical, you introduce needless friction. This friction is nothing you want to have around and can introduce unmeasurable frustrations and productivity impediments. But the best hardware at home doesn’t help you if your internet connection is terrible. You should start there, for sure.