Google has finally revealed all the details on its upcoming 4K digital whiteboard known as the Jamboard. The device was first unveiled back in October, but Google wasn’t talking about pricing except to say it would be under $6,000. Google now says the Jamboard will come in significantly below that number at $4,999. Yes, that’s a lot of money, but it’s less expensive than a lot of competing enterprise products. However, it also requires a management and support contract that costs $600 per year.
The Jamboard is essentially a 55-inch 4K TV with touchscreen functionality (up to 16 simultaneous touch points). It also has a lot of other hardware bells and whistles, including NFC, a webcam, and Chromecast support so you can beam content from nearby devices to the Jamboard. You could cobble together all that hardware for much less than $5,000. But it’s the software that makes Jamboard something businesses might want to invest in.
The Jamboard interface understands the difference between a finger touching the display and one of the included styluses or the eraser. As you write on the Jamboard, it uses handwriting recognition to transform it into editable text too. There will also be collaboration tools for smartphones and tablets that sync up with the Jamboard, which is handy for remote team members and those who don’t have their own 4K digital whiteboard.
Google has been pushing its G Suite enterprise tools much more aggressively in recent years, which is possible thanks in large part to the success of Chromebooks. The digital whiteboard niche is new for Google. That’s something Microsoft has been interested in for some time. It announced the Surface Hub a few years ago, and started shipping it roughly one year ago. That device starts at $8,999 and goes as high as $21,000 for the giant 84-inch model.
The Jamboard has a less utilitarian design than the Surface Hub, and it comes with a neat rolling stand. That means a company could probably get away with buying fewer Jamboards and just moving them around as needed. Most other smart whiteboard products have to be securely mounted to a wall, where it then lives until someone with the right tools comes along to move it.
The Jamboard will begin shipping in May, but it will only be available in the US at first. Interested parties can contact Google to get in line for a unit. Jamboards deployed before the end of September will enjoy half off the $600 monthly support contract.