Micro Mart - - G Suite -

Sur­pris­ingly the new­est ad­di­tion to G Suite fam­ily isn’t an­other app, but a Google hard­ware prod­uct called Jam­board ( gsuite.google.com/jam­board). De­signed as the ul­ti­mate real-time col­lab­o­ra­tion space, this is a 55” 4K res­o­lu­tion touch­screen that aims to bring to­gether the phys­i­cal and dig­i­tal worlds, ei­ther in the same room or with teams lo­cated around the world.

Any­one can join in a Jam­board ses­sion from any lo­ca­tion just by run­ning the Jam­board app, which is avail­able for An­droid and Ap­ple iOS de­vices. Dur­ing the ses­sion they’ll see a real-time feed from the board, to which they can con­trib­ute text mes­sages, sticky notes, pho­tos and draw­ings, which the ses­sion leader can share with all Google Han­gout par­tic­i­pants when­ever they like.

On a tablet its pretty easy to add var­i­ous el­e­ments and re­ar­range them, but small screen smart­phone in­ter­ac­tions are, as you’d prob­a­bly ex­pect, more lim­ited. How­ever, it’s worth not­ing that desk­top or lap­top users can only watch a Jam­board ses­sion. Only de­vices with the mo­bile app in­stalled can fully con­trib­ute to what’s hap­pen­ing on-screen.

The screen is pres­sure-sen­si­tive when you’re writ­ing on it us­ing your fingers or one of two chunky-sized pas­sive stylii. Mag­nets keep the stylii se­cured to the Jam­board’s metal base when not in use, but if they do go miss­ing any rub­ber-tipped sty­lus will work.

Select the ‘hand­writ­ing-to-text’ tool be­fore start­ing to scrib­ble and your on-board writ­ing is con­verted to search­able text. The soft­ware can also straighten your lines, shapes and sym­bols to keep ev­ery­thing look­ing neat and tidy. Plus ev­ery­thing you write or draw on the Jam­board is saved to Google Drive.

There are many col­lab­o­ra­tion fea­tures. Drag and drop images, maps, videos and web pages from search re­sults. Snap pic­tures or self­ies with the above-screen high-def­i­ni­tion cam­era. Or watch video via the HDMI in­put ports or the built-in Chrome­cast fa­cil­ity.

Of course, Jam­board isn’t a brand new con­cept. Mi­crosoft has been push­ing its rather sim­i­lar 55” and 84” Sur­face Hub dis­plays ( goo.gl/eTMitk) for some time now. How­ever, with a hefty price tag of $20,000, the 84” ver­sion it is squarely aimed at the en­ter­prise busi­ness mar­ket­place.

Google says Jam­board won’t be avail­able un­til 2017, but at an ex­pected cost of un­der $6,000 it un­der­cuts Mi­crosoft’s $7,000 ri­val 55” Sur­face Hub. To see it ac­tion take a look at the of­fi­cial YouTube promo ( youtu.be/gXwV5SlKLAE).

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