Why Zoom thinks you might want Zoom-branded hardware
Insanely popular video conferencing software provider Zoom is making a move to extend its offerings into consumer hardware.
On Wednesday, the company opened preorders for the $600 Zoom for Home DTEN ME all-in-one video conferencing screen. Shipments for the device arrive next month in the U.S. and in September in Europe and Asia-Pacific countries.
The new device has a 27-inch touchscreen, three built in cameras, eight microphones, and speakers. It can connect to Zoom’s video conferencing service with built in software, acting as a large screen meeting space. It also has a standard HDMI port so users can use it as a typical computer monitor.
“After experiencing remote work ourselves for the past several months, it was clear that we needed to innovate a new category dedicated to remote workers,” Zoom CEO Eric Yuan said in a statement.
The screen, manufactured by DTEN, also includes Wi-Fi and ethernet networking capabilites.
Expected to be the first of a line of Zoom hardware, the DTEN ME could help cement the company’s lead over rivals like Cisco System’s WebEx and Microsoft’s Skype. Although users will be able to use the device with any app if they hook up a computer, the DTEN ME works most easily and seamlessly with the Zoom service. Zoom has also invested in a Norwegian small hardware company called Neat, which says it “was created with Zoom to provide the ultimate Zoom Room experience.”
Zoom has taken the lead in the booming market for video conferencing during the coronavirus pandemic that has shuttered offices around the world. The company said it was hosting 300 million participants in meetings per day in April, 30 times more than in December. Cisco, using a different metric, said it had 500 million meeting participants in total in April, triple the level of the previous month. Microsoft hasn’t given recent numbers for Skype, but said the service reached 40 million daily active users in March.
Shares of Zoom dropped 2% in midmorning trading on Wednesday, though the stock has still nearly quadrupled in price so far this year.