Previously on, we’ve looked at ways iPads and other tablets are being used as dedicated one-function devices that replace traditional business tools like cash registers or point-of-purchase merchandising collateral .

With its announcement of a bundled hardware, software and subscription-support system called “Chromebox for Meetings,” Google is demonstrating how the same approach can be used to sell a one-function “computer”: configure and market it as an easily understandable solution to a need shared by lots of people, rather than as a platform for doing everything under the sun.

While there is nothing new about configuring and selling computers as one-function products (web-servers and office phone systems, for example), the falling costs and increasing power of computers and tablets make it easier to justify purchasing a computer for one function, especially if a company like Google has assembled the computer and the necessary peripheral devices, software and services and has packaged it into an intuitive to operate device. (We haven’t tried it, but “easy” is one of Google’s strengths.)

While technology journalists and analysts are reporting that the Chromebox for Meetings desktop configuration seems a bit pricey, small business customers won’t even think of it as a computer, but will view it as an alternative to systems costing many-times over the price of the $1,000 bundle.

Is Chromebox for Meetings worth the price?

While all we know so far is what Google and a few hand-picked trial users have said about the product and service, the concept seems to be an excellent approach for many businesses and other organizations. While there are lots of alternatives to high-end video conferencing systems, including the plain-and-simple service from Google called Hangouts, the compelling “business class” or “enterprise” features of  Chromebox for Meetings bundle are the integration of two services providing features that (1)  enable users to dial into a conference via phone, and (2) enable users to connect into the video conferencing systems used by large companies and other organizations. For small businesses with clients at big companies, the bundle may be a no-brainer if it works as described. (Phone support available at services like Go To Meeting will have to be rolled into the service for this type of user, however.)

While Google has a spotty record at marketing products and services other than search, their appoach with Chromebox for Meetings seems sound: It is letting companies like HP and Asus sell the hardware and  services companies like Vidyo (provides connecting bridge to enterprise systems) and  Uberconference (dail-in) while Google benefits from the incremental growth (and retention) of its userbase of small and medium sized businesses who subscribe to Google Apps for Business.

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