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).