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Jamboard is now available (blog.google)
116 points by happy-go-lucky on May 23, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 71 comments

The Jamboard is a collaborative whiteboard that costs $5k for a 4k 55" screen plus $600/year ($300/year for early adopters). It's similar to Microsoft's Surface Hub[1], Cisco's Spark Board[2] and SMART Technologies SmartBoard[3].

Pricing seems about normal for products in this space, even a little low. I'd think that the big question that anyone considering buying this should be asking is around Google's history with hardware support and service. This kind of product will often be expected to be used for 5+ years and the dependency of a non-core service from Google could affect that.

As I'm looking to purchase one of the products in this space, here is a little more comparison info in case anyone else finds it useful. Only Google will sell you one of their devices, everyone else goes through resellers with opaque pricing and unpublished RRPs.

Microsoft Surface Hub 55": 1920x1080 @120Hz, 4th Generation i5, Intel HD 4600, 2x HD cameras. Windows 10 + MS Office

Microsoft Surface Hub 85" 3840x2160 @120Hz, 4th generation i7, NVIDIA Quadro K2200, 2x HD cameras. Windows 10 + MS Office

Cisco Spark Board 55": 4k (4096x2160?) display, unknown hardware and software, 4k camera. Cisco Spark and SIP protocols supported, requires Cisco Collaboration Cloud service.

Cisco Spark Board 70": same as 55"

SMART Board 8055i 55"/8065i 65"/8084i 84": 3840x2160, 4k available. Doesn't seem to have cameras for videoconferencing, comes with SMART Meeting Pro 4.0 software to "collaborate in the 4th dimension", whatever that means.

Google Jamboard 55: 55" 4k (4096x2160?) @60Hz. Unknown hardware, software probably Android? Costs $5000. Requires Google's G-Suite subscription, uses Hangouts and $600/year annual management and support fee. EOL is May 2021

[1] https://www.microsoft.com/microsoft-surface-hub [2] http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/collaboration-endpoint... [3] https://home.smarttech.com/interactive-displays-for-business

I'm sort of confused about the annual management / support fee. Sounds like this would be a cool accessory that would require G Apps and therefore bring startups into the ecosystem. Why charge support for something so expensive that also requires G Suite for every user in the first place? Why isn't the functionality just linked directly into some G Suite OneNote equivalent?

I feel like that fee would really kill the appeal, if I were hunting for something like this. Also, I'm assuming there would be a support fee for each device?

This quote:

| This kind of product will often be expected to be used for 5+ years and the dependency of a non-core service from Google could affect that.

Is related to this quote:

| I'm sort of confused about the annual management / support fee

To spell it out more, here's an apt passage from Stratechery <https://stratechery.com/2017/wannacry-and-the-power-of-busin...:

| This is exactly what is necessary for good security: vendors need to keep their applications (or in the case of Microsoft, operating systems) updated, and end users need to always be using the latest version. Moreover, pricing software as a service means it is no longer a capital cost with all of the one-time payment assumptions that go with it: rather, it is an ongoing expense that implicitly includes maintenance, whether that be by the vendor or the end user (or, likely, a combination of the two).

Any form of collaboration like this requires something server-side that needs to be maintained so an annual fee is not unreasonable. The Microsoft Surface Hub uses Skype for Business so would be backing into an Office365 SAAS account and the Cisco one requires a Cisco Collaboration Cloud one which the only price I can find is CAD3547.99[1]

[1] https://www.cdw.ca/shop/products/Cisco-Spark-Board-subscript...

But I think the point is you need a Google suite account. So how much more server-side are we talking about here? Enough worth killing sales for?

There is precedent for an annual fee: they charge one in addition to the purchase price for their Chromebox for Meetings device as well.

Keep in mind that this is the same outfit that completely botched the rollout of Wave. They KNEW it was a product dependent on the network effect, and instead they drank their own Kool Aid. Simply further proof Google is an algorithm company that dreams electric Apples.

Helen of Troy has no fear of Google. None.

Wave was announced in 2009, and though it was not successful, it's feature breakthroughs led to realtime collaboration in Google Docs.

Innovation is not a linear convention.

In your warped exegesis of the world, Apple didn't launch the Newton and Microsoft never pushed the Zune.

You're confusing the product with the rollout / marketing. Wave obviously needed network. So what was the point of limited invites.

Imagine this. I want to have a group chat - a la Slack - and 9 team members are able and one is not. Guess that happened? No Wave use.

The point is simple. The history of stupidity, shite customer service and abandoment is there...Google is not - yet? - a world class product company. Innovation is not the issue. Execution is.

i think the product support will be ok as it's run via the Cloud Business side of the company, $50 a month will assure this. also Cisco normally has some kinda maintenance plan on there products. unsure about the Surface Hub

i can also see them being pack in as sweeteners like sign up for company/school wide G-Suite here is a few bonus jamboards

software is chromeOS?.


My experience with Google support (not for hardware, to be fair) is enough to never even consider buying a $5k piece of hardware from them.

>Requires Google's G-Suite subscription

That would be showstopper for any company not already signed up. $5 to $10/month for anyone that might use one of these boards, or remotely connect, even if only once a year?

And they have to sign in with a separate ID if the company isn't generally using G suite?

What is your favorite?

We use a mix out of all products, but arent G Suite Customers for a variety of reasons. Is the Surface Hub relatively "open" to be used with with Third Party Software?

It says in the article that the Jamboard is driven by an NVIDIA Jetson TX1.

This will eat SmartBoard's lunch and I'm all for it — existing stand-alone collaborative whiteboard technology is shit.

I'm guessing this originated as a tool for Google's internal teams? The market for it isn't all that big outside of startups (but it exists).

Interestingly I work at Google and I haven't seen or used one yet, but maybe it just didn't make it to my building in testing.

What am I missing that makes this so expensive? Is it just a "Google Glass"-syndrome kind of thing?

This is a $5,000 whiteboard with an annual SAAS fee.

Comparable digital whiteboards go for similar (or larger) amounts. $5000 is actually not that expensive.

The real question, is why isn't it free? As in, why can't we just download this from the Play store and use it on whatever we device we already have, like everything else in the G suite?

Microsoft is already moving in this space, not sure about Apple, but I guess there's just a lot of money here.

The real question, is why isn't it free?

Because there's already a well-established (presumably high-margin) market for this technology, and it turns out that making money is something that companies like to do.

They do actually mention there being a Jamboard app being rolled out this week for iOS and Android, but there are no details that I could find.

The build quality is high because it's meant to be touched. Think about it, how often do you touch your TV at home or your monitor? If you're using a Windows 10 all-in-one, you'll likely notice that it's not quite the same as a standard monitor. Now imagine a group of people touching it continuously throughout the day, and instead of gingerly tapping away at it with their fingers, they're treating it like a piece of office furniture. The Jamboard feels like a nice piece of office furniture from Herman Miller vs. something cheap from Costco. It might seem expensive, but you get what you pay for.

The price will more than justify itself for any business that understands the utility of a collaborative whiteboard that seamlessly integrates with the tools they they already use. Plus, it's one of those things that you have to experience to fully understand.

> What am I missing that makes this so expensive?

The price of something is correlated directly with what people are willing to pay for it. I'm 100% certain companies will pay for this. The value proposition is pretty huge for this sort of tech.

Probably better to consider it a piece of high end teleconferencing equipment - at which that price point looks if not "cheap" at least pretty reasonable.

I can't say that I agree with a $6000 hardware price and $600 a year SAAS as reasonable for what's offered.

Do you have some comparable products?

Microsoft's Surface Hub seems similar. https://www.microsoft.com/microsoft-surface-hub/en-us

Right? Android device + UHD Screen + a few extra proprietary styluses.

It's the attention to detail that counts in this case. They're clearly going for the experience rather than cobbling together gear and expecting to work. Response time, heft of the stylus, composability of the software, durability, compatibility, reliability; that's what you're paying for. This thing isn't for startups (use a whiteboard, stay lean!).

A decent 55" 4k touchscreen costs almost as much as this though - and that's with a PC to drive it.

I'd love to hear from anyone who is planning to buy one.

It feels as if collaboration tools are made for a type of collaboration that people don't really do. Consider this delightful gem of marketing copy:

"Jamboard breaks down barriers to interactive, visual collaboration across teams everywhere"

Whenever I've engaged in "interactive, visual collaboration," the visual content has been super context-specific. This meant there was usually a purpose-built tool for that kind of collaboration (e.g., wireframe mockups for websites, storyboards for videos).

The price on these is high, but I've definitely wanted a way to draw diagrams that I can show people in teleconferences. Since I was usually remote this meant a tablet, rather than a whiteboard, but I can definitely see how this would be useful for explaining things to people who are remote.

Microsoft's version has apparently been selling like hotcakes, so i guess it is a type of collaboration that people really do.

>Microsoft's version has apparently been selling like hotcakes

I was going to ask you for more on this, but found an Ars Technica article with a bit more info: https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/12/micro...


"a pen and paper breaks down barriers to interactive, visual collaboration across teams everywhere" feels more truthful

I see it more as breaking down barriers to distributed working. Anything that reduces the collaboration gap between collocates and distributed teams is a win in my book., since it could help enable a cultural change at companiesz

As others have said, remote working.

As a consultant, if these were cheaper I'd have no hesitation lending one to each client for the duration of the project. It would make remote meetings way easier.

My first thought upon reading this was: This looks cool, I wonder how long it will take until they kill it. I wonder if I'm alone with this gut reaction?

I'm sure you aren't alone, but i'm getting very tired of this comment appearing on every single google product or feature announcement. It's not interesting or insightful, it adds nothing to the discussion other than cliched whining.

I think it's worth having this discussion on posts about new Google products. This isn't AutoDraw, anyone considering spending this much money has to seriously weigh up the very significant risk of Google dropping support almost immediately. It has a real tangible effect on a business.

Personally if I ran a company I'd have a rule to not rely on anything by Google other than their largest core services (Drive, Android, Ads). Their history is just too bad at this point, and this product will almost certainly go the way of glass. I predict it's abandoned within the year.

Google has an amazing list of discontinued products: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Google_products#Discon...

I'm not saying it's terrible to buy Google products, but maybe wait until it's a success first. There is very little reason to risk being an early adopter of a Google product.

The recent Google Home (not a cheap product) advertising snafu is another recent red flag for buying any Google product.

Edit: Parent originally commented about 'getting over Google Reader being discontinued'.

Note that Google is primarily a services company, and many of their services are free. As a result, lots of people try the services, and complain if they're discontinued. Compare Apple[1] and Microsoft[2] both of which have discontinued many more (hardware and software) products than Google - yet the immediate reaction to new introductions from either is not 'fine, but when will they discontinue that?'

1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_products_discontinued_....

2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Discontinued_Microsof...

Discontinuing a piece of consumer electronics is completely different to discontinuing a service. Firstly, your electronics don't disappear when they stop making them. You just can't buy a new one.

Plus, many of those had direct replacements that were obvious iterations of their predecessor. Sure, Apple discontinued the iPod Mini, but they released the iPod Nano. Sure, Apple discontinued MobileMe, but they released iCloud.

Google just quietly abandons services and products and if they ever replace anything, they appear to have started from scratch.

Plus, the item in question is not a free service, it's an expensive physical device with a costly subscription service.

That Microsoft list is missing a quite a few products and services.

  Games for Windows
  Flight Sim
  Expression Suite
  Windows RT
  Windows Phone 7
  Front Page
And I'm probably missing many more.

Yes, google discontinues products. Sometimes they're even products I like, and it makes me angry. But reading this thread on every single discussion about any google product is getting tiresome.

But this line of discussion remains relevant whenever a new Google product or service is announced.

If we want to avoid the conversation, Google needs to put out some clear language around project/product/service EOL and support for everything it introduces.

It's not relevant, any more than posting "the sky is blue" on every discussion about the outdoors would be. Everybody knows google has a tendency to try new things and kill them quickly when they aren't working. Reminding everybody is completely unnecessary; we all know it. It's not informative, insightful, or interesting.

Kill them when they aren't working yes - kill them _quickly_ not so much.

To be honest,the products Google discontinue are quite predictable. You can't compare the discontinuation of a free consumer social app (Google Spaces) that did not even really take off to a product that is targeting the enterprise and will served to G Suite customers.

Microsoft also has an amazing list of discontinued products, services and hardware. Be sure to factor that into account when making your purchasing decision - especially when you're paying $9000 just for the entry level Surface Hub.

And you can now add Wunderlist to that long list.

Google is more hesitant to stop something once they retrieve income from something. Google Apps (now suite) even has customer service that you can call.

The post is light on details. If this is actually a collaborative whiteboard that would be a huge boon for remote work.

Here's the spec sheet which has some extra details:


Also the actual product landing page has some info too: https://gsuite.google.com/products/jamboard/

Thanks. The main landing page is much better. Still a little unclear on whether 16 touch points is spread across all remote locations. So if there's 5 jam boards and three stylus/eraser sets at each, that sounds perfect. Glad to see someone finally built this, nice!

"16 touch points" is just the spec for the touchscreen hardware -- "Jamboard supports up to 16 touchpoints at once on a single device."

Wasn't the idea behind create Alphabet that Google would focus on Search-related stuff, while the parent company could create all these wild IoT products?

No, it was that Google would focus on the established businesses that weren't rolled out into other parts of Alphabet.

The G Suite (formerly Google Apps) enterprise offering, which this is part of, was part of the core business retained in Google. This is not a wild IoT product, it's a competitive entry in the enterprise collaboration space that G Suite targets.

That idea makes sense, but the Google brand / ecosystem is probably too important not to leverage.

Dear Google, Please stop producing cool things you're not able to sell.

Sincerely, World.

P.s. I still can't buy the latest google phone because I live outside US.

Why does the stand cost $1350!? (or a mere $1200 during introductory pricing)

I'm curious if the Android app will run well on the touchscreen panels that I've got that area already running Android; or indeed on an Android dongle/box connected to and large (tv sized) touchscreen

this seems like an evolution of https://mural.co/ - which does a decent job, but this is next level stuff. bravo

one painfully obvious missing feature: voice capture.

It seems to so natural to integrate google assistant into this thing. I wonder when 'Alexa' for meetings will be good enough to commercialize.

I don't think it will be hard for them to introduce voice commands to it with the google home. I understand not wanting to spend more money on another device but this is their whiteboard, then google home is their voice command module.

Thats awesome. I bet Googles been using one of these for years.

"Cloud service" supporting it will probably not last for long.

Why not just a webcam and a touch screen? Seems like it won't last, the pricing is outrageous.

The Jamboard does way more than that, you can see them demo it at Next:


If you've been in countless business meetings whiteboarding, Jamboard is definitely not outrageous.

It's not at all outrageous for an enterprise product in its space.

This seems like exactly the sort of thing they won't have the dedication to support for very long. $5k for this thing is quite risky in that sense.

edit: Oh, it's actually over $6k if you want the rolling stand, which you will.

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