The newest addition to Google's G Suite isn't a productivity app; rather, it's a massive piece of hardware. On Tuesday, Google unveiled Jamboard, a large digital whiteboard built to encourage collaboration among team members in an organization.
Essentially, Jamboard looks like a large TV, set on a stand or on the wall, with a bright colored backing. It comes with a stylus and digital eraser, so team members can quickly jot down, or get rid of, ideas. If users want, they can also erase any scribbles with their finger, too.
Jamboard has a 55-inch 4k display, and promises "best-in-class touch response time," according to Google's web page announcing the product. It also has built-in speakers, an HD camera, and Wi-Fi connectivity.
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Jamboard is positioned as the next component of Google's G Suite. It offers integration with other apps in the suite like Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drive, so users can bring work in from those apps as part of their brainstorming. Google's announcement also noted that users can pull images and other content from the web to Jamboard.
Other features include digital sticky notes and stencils, and handwriting recognition. Whiteboard sessions created with Jamboard are saved in the cloud, so users can go back and work on their Jamboard after a meeting concludes, according to Google.
According to a report from Fortune, whiteboard sessions can be saved as a JAM file to Google Drive, and Jamboard will work with Android and iOS devices.
Being that Jamboard is cloud-based, it also allows for remote collaboration. In a YouTube video demonstrating the product, an employee appears to be calling in to the meeting, with her video call appearing right on the screen. The Jamboard is powered by Android, and Google's announcement page said that there is a smartphone and tablet companion app available.
Google's announcement page said that Jamboard will be available sometime in 2017, and BenQ will help with the initial sales and reseller distribution. The final product will cost roughly $6,000. Interested parties can sign up for more information here.
Jamboard is just the latest evidence that Google is trying to get back into the hardware game in a major way. After rumors that Google would step away from handset manufacturing and shutter the Nexus brand, Google launched the AI-powered Pixel phone. Jamboard, however, is Google's first foray into enterprise hardware in quite some time. The biggest competitor will likely be the Microsoft Surface Hub, which is more expensive.
The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers
- Google unveiled its digital whiteboard Jamboard, a 55-inch digital touch screen for collaboration in the conference room.
- Jamboard integrates with G Suite apps, so users can pull in work from Docs or Drive, or grab images from the web for their whiteboard session.
- Jamboard will be available in 2017, and will cost around $6,000.
- Google unveils AI-powered Pixel phone: 4 big takeaways (TechRepublic)
- Microsoft Surface Hub conferencing system starts shipping (ZDNet)
- Pixel C and Android N: The future of productivity on Android (TechRepublic)
- Microsoft Surface Hub chief, Holoportation researchers leave to form stealth startup (ZDNet)
- 5 ways to use Google Chromebit in the enterprise (TechRepublic)
Conner Forrest has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.