Google this week broadened its range of hardware offerings with Jamboard, a new digital whiteboard product. The whiteboard—which features a 55-inch 4K touch-responsive display, integrated speakers, HD camera and WiFi—will be available for under $6,000 when it starts shipping sometime in 2017.
Jamboard will allow users to collaborate on projects using data from Google’s full suite of cloud applications and services. For example, users can dial-in to participate in a whiteboard session using Google Hangouts and pull in work from applications like Docs, Sheets and Slides and collaborate on it with others.
Similarly, they can grab images and content via Google search and bring it into a Jamboard session, Google project manager TJ Varghese announced in a post on the company’s G-Suite Updates blog.
“Jamboard raises the bar on collaborative creativity,” Varghese said. It brings “the same real-time collaboration found in G Suite, combined with the best of the web, to your team’s brainstorms and meetings.”
Jamboard gives users multiple ways to capture ideas and comment during a collaborative meeting via support for sticky notes, handwriting and shape recognition, and other similar tools.
The touch-screen is designed to recognize when someone is using a stylus to write or sketch something and when someone might be using the eraser to wipe out content on the board. Like physical whiteboards, users will have the ability to erase work using their fingertips if they choose to do so.
All work done on Jamboard is saved automatically to Google Drive so users can pick up right where they left off at any time and from anywhere. The idea is to ensure that people have a way to continue collaborating on something they started at any time. “Your brainstorm doesn’t have to end when the meeting does,” Varghese said.
Users and teams can participate in a Jamboard session from anywhere, either via another Jamboard or even with their smartphones and tablets.
According to Varghese, Google worked closely with G-Suite customers, such as Netflix, Spotify and Instrument, to determine and refine the hardware and software powering the whiteboard.
Google has launched an Early Adopter program for enterprises interested in collaborating with the company on the final product details. Those interested in checking their eligibility for the program can submit a form on Google’s Jamboard website.
Google will have competition when it starts shipping Jamboard. Microsoft has a similar digital collaboration technology in Surface Hub. The product is available in two models—one has an 84-inch touch display with 4K-resolution, and the other has a 55-inch display.
Like Jamboard, Microsoft’s Surface Hub is designed for digital collaboration and allows users to share and collaborate on content from laptops, phones and tablets.
Both of Microsoft’s options in this space have higher price tags than Google’s intended price. For instance, the 84-inch Surface Hub costs just under $22,000 while the 55-inch model retails for $9,000.
Another similar offering is Sharp’s Aquos interactive display family.