Google adds dig­i­tal white­board to de­vice line-up

Jamaica Gleaner - - MARKET REPORTS - – AP

GOOGLE HAS de­signed a gi­ant touch-screen can­vas for com­pa­nies try­ing to make it eas­ier for their em­ploy­ees to brain­storm as they work on team projects and other as­sign­ments.

The prod­uct is called Jam­board, an al­lu­sion to its goal of re­plac­ing the phys­i­cal white­boards that com­pa­nies have been set­ting up in meet­ing rooms for decades. It boasts a 55-inch, ul­tra­high-def­i­ni­tion screen ca­pa­ble of recog­nis­ing the dif­fer­ence be­tween when some­one is writ­ing on it with a sty­lus or touch­ing it with a fin­ger.

Google re­leased the de­vice to a small group of com­pa­nies on Tues­day be­fore mak­ing it widely avail­able early next year.

As with a white­board, em­ploy­ees can post their ideas, doc­u­ments and im­ages on the Jam­board, only they won’t need mark­ers, tape or sticky notes to do it. In­stead, they can use their fin­gers, a sty­lus or smart­phones and smaller tablets to share in­for­ma­tion and con­tent from any­where with an on­line con­nec­tion. All the work posted on a Jam­board can be saved in Google’s on­line stor­age ser­vice, Drive.

Jam­board rep­re­sents Google’s lat­est ef­fort to lure busi­ness and gov­ern­ment cus­tomers away from Mi­crosoft, which makes a sim­i­lar prod­uct called the Sur­face Hub. Google is un­der­cut­ting Mi­crosoft by pric­ing Jam­board at about US$6,000, a 33 per cent mark­down from the US$9,000 Sur­face Hub.

Us­ing Jam­board will re­quire a sub­scrip­tion to Google’s G Suite of email and other busi­ness ap­pli­ca­tions, a ser­vice that starts at US$5 per month.

Jam­board re­in­forces Google’s push to make its own gear in an at­tempt to hook more peo­ple on its soft­ware and other dig­i­tal ser­vices. Un­til this fall, Google had teamed up with other man­u­fac­tur­ers when­ever it made a phone or other gad­get.

But Google just rolled out a fancy smart­phone called the Pixel that it de­signed it­self. Soon, it will start sell­ing an In­ter­net-con­nected speaker called Home. Both those de­vices fea­ture a dig­i­tal as­sis­tant pow­ered by Google’s ar­ti­fi­cial-in­tel­li­gence pro­grams.

Jam­board op­er­ates with an ap­pli­ca­tion that works on smart­phones and tablets pow­ered ei­ther by Google’s An­droid soft­ware or Ap­ple’s oper­at­ing sys­tem for iPhones and Pads.

Jam­board will not work with Mi­crosoft’s Win­dows sys­tem, mak­ing it in­com­pat­i­ble with Sur­face tablets and most per­sonal com­put­ers.

AP

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