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Google unveils Jamboard, its cloud-connected digital whiteboard

Google is trying to change the way users collaborate once again with its recently announced Jamboard, which aims to take the place of a traditional whiteboard by offering users a way to work together in real-time via the cloud.

The company's new product is essentially a 55-inch 4K display with touch and pen input. However, Google has added cloud-connectivity to help set it apart from SMART Boards and other such devices that have become commonplace in both boardrooms and classrooms.

Anything drawn on the Jamboard will automatically be saved to Google Drive and the company has decided to call creations made on its new device “jams.” Google has also made it possible to draw on top of web content and other Google apps to help users flesh out their ideas further.

Collaboration is a key component to the Jamboard and the company has made it possible to work together on a number of devices in a variety of ways. Teams working remotely will be able to use their own Jamboards to contribute to ongoing sessions in a way that is seamless and simple. It will even be possible to send a jam to Hangouts which will allow users to broadcast their creations to their contacts.

Companion apps will be available on both Android and iOS that will allow colleagues around the world to follow along with the creative process. Tablet users will be able to contribute from within their apps using the same tools available on Jamboard, while phone users will only be able to view and input data into an ongoing jam.

The Jamboard itself contains a small tray that is used to hold the passive stylus and eraser which keeps everything needed to use the device in a nicely contained package. The device can be wall mounted or can be used from its stand so that it can easily be rolled from one room to the next. On its side the Jamboard has USB and HDMI inputs and under its right side it has an input selector along with volume controls.

Another interesting aspect of Google's latest device is its pricing. The Jamboard will be priced at around $6,000 when it releases during the first half of 2017. While this price may seem high, it is actually $3,000 cheaper than Microsoft's Surface Hub.

When Google introduced collaborative features in Google Docs, it changed the way users work together on office documents. The Jamboard has the potential to do something quite similar in the office while showing Microsoft customers that there are cheaper alternatives to its more premium Surface line. 

Image Credit: Turtix / Shutterstock

After getting his start at ITProPortal and then working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches to how to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.