Google’s delivering on its promise of keeping its interactive whiteboard under $6,000. Priced at $4,999, the Jamboard is just a hair more expensive than the 55-inch version of Cisco’s Sparkboard and considerably less so than the $8,999 Surface Hub, which was both the first of the trio to be announced and first to market when it started shipping last March.
Google’s 55-inch offering is set to arrive May. That price includes two styli and one eraser. What it doesn’t factor in, however, is upkeep. The management and support fee is going to cost your IT department an additional $600 a year – though that price will be halved if they manage to get in before the end of September. And hey, the company will throw in a free wall mount too, for good measure.
The Jamboard was a bit of a surprise announcement when the company unveiled it back in October, serving as a brand new take on enterprise hardware for Google. The play here is pretty clear, however, serving as a continued push to bring the company’s cloud-based collaboration tools into the enterprise in a big way.
The $5,000 device sports a 4K touch display with some some pretty sophisticated handwriting recognition for note taking. It is, naturally, built around the company’s suite of office apps and uses Google Cast for collaborations with mobile devices and remote users who don’t happen to have their own 55-inch interactive whiteboard (which, I assume is most people in the world). The 2K telepresence camera helps with that as well.
Google’s certainly brought some design chops to the table. The Jamboard is the nicest looking product of the trio. It’s relatively portable, thanks to a set of wheels and seems pretty user-friendly, which has always been a major sticking point for teleconferencing equipment. In early tests, it also seems to operate pretty smoothly, though it would be nice to take the thing for a spin in a less controlled environment.
Aside from cost, however, what the decision will likely come down to for most offices is which set of software they’re the already invested in. Microsoft has long had that market cornered, though Google does seem to have made some genuine progress on that front in recent years.