So far, 2016 has been a great “hardware” year for Google – it recently launched Google Pixel, Pixel XL, a WiFi router system and a smart speaker. While Pixel and Pixel XL have caught everybody’s attention – with the phones going out of stock in the United States just weeks after launch – it looks like Google is trying to establish a strong presence in the hardware business. Now, Google has announced the Jamboard – a giant 55-inch screen powered by Google Cloud.
Display, Stylus, and Eraser
The display supports 4K resolution and is pressure-sensitive. Basically, it acts like a giant whiteboard and comes with a stylus which you can use to make marks on the screen. The stylus does look like a fat crayon but can draw fine lines up to 1mm. Not just that, the Jamboard also provides an eraser to remove all the digital markings. Both the stylus and the eraser are passive devices – meaning that you don’t have to worry about battery life or even pairing them to the screen and things like that. Magnets help keep the stylus and microfiber eraser glued to the Jamboard’s metal base. The screen has the capability to differentiate between finger and stylus. So, you can either use your finger for performing pressure-sensitive operations or use the stylus for marking up the screen. You can also write with the stylus and then choose to erase the writings with your finger. What’s more, the Jamboard is capable of detecting up to 16 touch points at once. This actually takes collaboration to a whole new level, because you and 15 other colleagues can use the screen at the same time!
You can mount the display to a wall, just like any other flatscreen TV. Or you can choose to opt for the stand that sits atop four large caster wheels, which makes it easy to move about your office. There are USB and HDMI ports along the side of Jamboard along with volume controls. The screen also has an input select button behind the bottom-right corner.
Real-time Collaboration Using Jamboard
The Jamboard is essentially meant to make real-time collaboration easier. The 4K touchscreen is the first hardware product in G suite of cloud-based tools. The G suite of cloud-based tools comprises of Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs and all “G” stuffs. The cloud-based tools make long-distance collaboration easy. “From the beginning, we were putting people in sort of productivity boxes from the start, you had to choose right away, are you going to use Docs, a spreadsheet, or a slide deck. We thought that might somehow limit creativity,”says Jonathan Rochelle, director of product for G Suite. “It made it so that when people wanted to be creative and collaborative, they can’t do the same thing at the same time. That bothered us, because the reason you’re in a meeting is to collaborate”, he added.
When you launch a Jamboard session, people can join the session from anywhere using the Jamboard app available on iOS and Android. Everybody can then see a real-time feed from the board and can choose to add text, drawings, photos etc. The leader can share it with Google Hangout participants. Everything that’s shared on Jamboard session is saved to Google Drive and that’s where the concept of “cloud” comes in.
Take Selfies and Do More
The HD camera above the screen lets you take pics or selfies. HDMI inputs and built-in Chromecast allow you to Netflix and relax in the comfort of your boardroom. From the board, you can search for images, maps, videos, and web pages to drag and drop into a Jam session. You can also dial in participants via Google Hangouts. There are some impressive tools on the Jamboard. Wish to convert your scribble into a neat text? The ‘handwriting-to-text’ tool lets you do just that – convert your scribble into searchable text. It can also straighten lines, shapes, and symbols. If you own an iPad or Android tablet, you’ll be able to use all the editing tools available to Jamboard devices. All these capabilities make the Jamboard a physical extension of Google’s office suite and cloud-based services.
Jamborad To Cost Less Than $6000
It’s not that Jamboard is something new – Microsoft’s Surface Hub is already in the same space. It’s quite obvious that Google is targeting the same market as Surface Hub. The advantage Google has over Microsoft is the fact that companies already using Google suite of apps are more likely to use Jamboard, since it makes full use of Google’s powerful cloud-based suite of tools. But it looks like you have to wait until first half of 2017 to use this product. The company has already started testing the device with Netflix, Instrument, and Spotify and plans to release Jamboard for under $6,000 in the first half of 2017 for G Suite customers.
Watch this video to know more about Jamboard –