Jamboard by Google is a cloud-based kiosk meant for businesses to use in conference rooms to facilitate collaboration in meetings. Despite a hardware aspect of the product, you don’t necessarily need the smart display to use it.
What Is Jamboard?
Jamboard is an online interactive whiteboard tool designed for cross-platform collaboration developed by Google as part of the G Suite family. Initially released in May 2017, Jamboard is Google’s entry into the digital whiteboard market to compete with Microsoft’s Surface Hub. Jamboard is built on a custom version of Android that harmonizes with all the G Suite services.
The 55-inch 4K touchscreen supports 16 simultaneous touch points, Wi-Fi connectivity, and handwriting and shape recognition. It also includes a Full HD webcam, HDMI, USB-C and micro-USB inputs, and two styluses. You can use the optional rolling stand or mount Jamboard on the wall of your conference room.
Create a Jam—what Google calls each collaboration session—in seconds, add up to 20 frames (pages) per Jam, and share it with up to 50 collaborators at once in real time. Search Google, insert images from Drive or web pages, add Sticky Notes and emojis, or use the shape recognition tool to add perfect shapes to the Jam. Jamboard seems to do it all. You can even host video meetings and present your whiteboard to attendees.
How Much Does Jamboard Cost?
Depending on where you live, the price for a Jamboard differs region-by-region. In the U.S., you can purchase the Jamboard (available in Carmine Red, Cobalt Blue, and Graphite Gray), two styluses, one eraser, and one wall mount for $4,999.
Along with the upfront purchase of the hardware, you have to pay an additional $600 per year for management and support fees. To see a more complete list of prices in local currencies, check out the pricing page for Jamboard.
In addition to buying the hardware and the annual support fee, to use a Jamboard device, you’ll need a G Suite plan. Jamboard is available for G Suite Basic, Business, Enterprise, G Suite for Education, and G Suite Enterprise for Education customers.
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At this price point—with the annual cost of $600/year and G Suite—you can see that Jamboard isn’t intended for personal use. Instead, it’s solely designed for businesses with a team of workers to collaborate on projects.
Do I Need the Hardware to Use Jamboard?
Yes and no. You can use the Jamboard app on a tablet, smartphone, and from a browser with the Jamboard web app. The only drawback to a Jamboard-less Jam is you won’t be able to experience it the way it was intended in all its glory.
You can get away without the hardware just fine, but you don’t have access to handwriting and shape recognition. All of the other collaboration items are available, including Sticky Notes and various markup tools.
All you need is a Google account associated with any of the G Suite platforms previously mentioned; then just click the orange plus sign (+) to start a new Jam.
To collaborate with people, click the “Share” button in the top-right corner.
Just like you would with any Google file, you can copy and distribute the link to collaborators or enter their email address to send them an invitation to your Jam.
Anyone with edit access can now add to the Jam in real time with you and other collaborators.