Google announces Jamboard, a cloud-connected digital whiteboard

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Google Jamboard is a digital dry-erase board dialed into the cloud

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Google has announced its latest entry into the hardware market: Jamboard, a "digital whiteboard" and physical extension of the G Suite of business software (formerly Google Apps for Work).

The Jamboard setup consists of a pressure-sensitive 55-inch 4K display with built-in speakers, camera and Wi-Fi, with an accompanying (battery-free) stylus and eraser. Early product images suggest it has an integrated stand.

In terms of functionality, Jamboard combines draw-and-erase utility with internet-age perks. Users can populate the screen with images and content from the web or cloud and access tools like sticky notes, stencils and handwriting recognition. Remote colleagues can collaborate in real time using other Jamboards or the companion app for smartphones and tablets. All work saves directly to the cloud, so unlike an actual whiteboard, a stray smudge or erasure won't result in lost and ruined work.

Surely, Jamboard is Google's answer to the Microsoft Surface Hub, a similar wall-mounted co-working tool that launched in September and integrates with Windows apps like Microsoft Office, Whiteboard and Skype for Business. However, Jamboard will retail for less than US$6,000, which is $1,000 less than the Surface Hub's starting price. Google is touting Jamboard's "best-in-class" touchscreen response time as another differentiator.

Jamboard hits markets in 2017; other product details have yet to be finalized. Google is currently accepting inquiries from potential partners in its Early Adopter Program testing and refining the devices.

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