While others have fallen by the wayside, Acer continues to support the Chromebase all-in-one PC platform, but with its latest Chrome-running desktop, the company is shifting its approach from the home to the enterprise.
Dubbed Chromebase for meetings, the system has been fine-tuned to support video conferencing. The unit features a 24-inch touchscreen full HD display (1,920x1,080 resolution) with an integrated adjustable HD webcam and quartet of microphones to capture the voices of one or two participants at each location. The Chromebase can host Google Hangouts for up to 25 people while using Google Apps, though you don't need a Google account to join a conference.
Video chats aside, the Chromebase operates like any computer running Chrome, It includes an Intel Celeron 3215U dual-core processor, 4GB of RAM, 16GB of solid-state storage, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and three USB 3.0 ports. Data security is provided by the integrated TPM (Trusted Platform Module) 1.2 chip and the Verified Boot technology that runs each time the Chromebase is started up.
At $799, the Acer Chromebase for meetings is priced a little higher than you might be accustomed for a Chrome-based system, but that price includes a year's worth of management and support fees. Management tools allow IT departments to remotely monitor numerous Chrome-running devices deployed across an enterprise.
However, the cost is less than Google's previous attempt at a Chrome-based video-conferencing solution. Chromebox for meetings rolled out in 2014 as a sum of parts -- the Chromebox unit, webcam, and microphones and other accessories for $999. Chromebase for meetings bundled these items into a single package (though with a slower processor than the Chromebox had) at a lower price point -- though it won't provide the coverage necessary in larger conference rooms than the expanded Chromebox for meetings option Google rolled out last week.