Google is taking on Microsoft’s Surface Hub with its own 55-inch 4K wall-mounted touchscreen aimed at businesses. The Jamboard is a cloud-connected digital whiteboard that lets teams collaborate on projects even when people are in different locations.
The display, which runs Android and a new whiteboarding app, lets users draw, type, import/edit images and Google docs, do web searches in a mini browser, add post-it notes, place stickers, and more, all while automatically saving everything to Google Drive.
The Jamboard’s built-in HD camera, speakers, and Wi-Fi lets teams use Hangouts, allowing them to broadcast their work globally. Support for YouTube will arrive at a later date, and third-party developers will eventually be able to create apps that run on Jamboard.
Google’s device can recognize up to 16 simultaneous touch inputs, and its passive stylus (no batteries or Bluetooth connection required) may look chunky, but it can draw a line just 1mm thick. It also comes with a round eraser, though you can also use your finger to remove stuff.
Probably the most important element of the Jamboard is its remote collaboration features. Teams from around the world can watch and contribute to “jam” sessions using their own Jamboards, or participate using the full companion tablet app for iOS and Android. There’s also a smartphone app that lets users follow along and contribute.
The Jamboard can be wall mounted or rolled around on a stand, and it comes with USB and HDMI ports. Google said it has already been testing and refining the device with companies such as Netflix and Spotify.
The Jamboard will be available for G Suite customers in the first half of 2017 for less than $6000, making it cheaper than Microsoft’s $8999 55-inch Surface Hub. There’s an early adopter program for those who can’t wait until next year.