Because launching its own flagship phone, router system, home assistant, and 4K streaming stick this year wasn’t enough, Google has announced its upcoming and most expensive project yet: a whiteboard.
Enter the Jamboard, the latest hardware development in Google’s office productivity series, G Suite, (previously known as Google Apps for Work and home to such applications as Google Docs and Google Calendar.)
What is the Jamboard, exactly? It’s a 55-inch, 4K resolution smart screen that functions as a combination whiteboard and collaboration tool, allowing up to 16 separate compatible devices to connect to the Jamboard and post drawings, sticky notes, reminders, and even web links.
Users can also write on the ultra high-def display with the same ease as a regular dry-erase board, thanks to a special stylus that doesn’t need charging or wireless pairing to the Jamboard – similar to how styluses used with Wacom graphic tablets work.
The Jamboard also carries the advantages of working in G Suite, such as cloud connectivity, saving your work to Google Drive, and even using its HD camera and speaker setup for bring in absent team members through Google Hangouts.
Okay, let’s talk about the price
Aiming for a 2017 release date, Google’s Jamboard could be seen as a must-have for any creative or collaborative department – especially any that are already using G Suite. However, get ready to write some hefty checks.
Google says the Jamboard’s price will be “under $6,000,” (about £4,920/AU$7,850). That may seem steep – and it is, compared to the cost of most standard dry-erase boards, tablets, or 4K televisions – but Google insists that the Jamboard is “competitively-priced.”
That claim isn’t entirely off-base, as the Jamboard’s closest competitor is the – a similar take on the digital whiteboard with a steep price of $8,999 (about £6,075/AU$12,450) for the standard model, and a whopping $21,999 (about £14,850, AU$30,435) for the massive 84-inch model.
While its competition is asking prices that could very well buy a car, or even a full-time employee for a few months, time will tell if companies latch onto the Jamboard’s productivity features and ‘economical’ cost.
In the meantime, you smaller startups and entrepreneurs out there may just want to kick it old-school with a regular whiteboard and some noxious-smelling markers.