Google has announced when you can pick up its new Jamboard.

You probably won't need this thing unless you're a teacher or a company executive, because it's a powerful collaboration tool used to enhance meetings or presentations. It provides a 4K whiteboard experience, and it's all about "moving the whiteboard to the cloud", according to Google. Here's everything you need to know about it.

Google Jamboard is a whiteboard-like 4K touch display you can use for meetings and presentation purposes. Turn it on, draw on it, flip through slides on it, whatever. Google plans to make Jamboard part of its G Suite, so users will be able to directly access and edit Docs, Sheets, Slides, and photos stored in Drive. There are no plans to make these apps run natively right now, as they'll use companion apps that let you and your teammates "jam".

When you “jam” with your teammates, whether that includes sketching, adding images, writing notes, pulling from the web, etc, your work lives in the cloud in Google Drive, where you can easily share what you’ve created or edit it at anytime. You can work with teammates from across the world using Google Hangouts and Google Cast for setting up broadcasts and collaborations, or you can work remotely using the companion app.

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The Jamboard has a "plug-and-play" design with no batteries or charging. It features a 55-inch 60Hz Ultra HD 4K touch display (supports passive stylus and finger recognition, with 16-touch points), a built-in wide-angle HD camera, mic, speakers, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, USB Type C, HDMI 2.0, Bluetooth, NFC, and Wi-Fi. It also runs a variant of Android Marshmallow. Google has not yet revealed its processor.

Google Jamboard also comes with two, thick white stylus pens for drawing and another white, mouse-like device that acts like an eraser. The rolling stand is an additional accessory.

Here’s a full spec rundown:

  • 55-inch 4K UHD display
  • 120Hz touch scan rate / 60Hz video refresh rate
  • 16-simultaneous touch points
  • Handwriting and shape recognition
  • Built-in tilt support / Built-in wide-angle camera
  • Down-firing speakers / Built-in microphones
  • NFC
  • HDMI 2.0, USB Type C, 2 X USB 3.0
  • SPDIF audio out
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ac 2x2 / 1 Gigabyte Ethernet
  • Google Cast
  • 2 x Fine tip passive stylus, Eraser, Microfiber cloth
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Microsoft unveiled a similar product, Surface Hub, in 2015 and began shipping it in 2016. The 55-inch Surface Hub model starts at $9,000. In October, Microsoft said it shipped Surface Hubs to 600 customers worldwide. The device runs custom Windows 10, offers custom versions of OneNote, Skype for Business, and Microsoft's Office apps, and can download custom apps from the Windows Store for Business.

The Surface Hub also comes in an 84-inch model. While the 55-inch model features an Intel Core i5 processor, the larger model has an i7 processor. Both models offer a display with 100 multi-touch points. Other Surface Hub specs include two wide-angle cameras, mics, speakers, Wi-Fi, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, Ethernet 1000 Base T, 128GB of storage with 8GB RAM, and two powered pens.

Unlike Surface Hub, you can’t install third-party apps on the Jamboard. But it does come with a companion app, which will be available for Android and iOS, allowing users to work on the whiteboard in real-time. The Surface Hub doesn't have companion apps, but you can collaborate on via Skype for Business. Surface Hub is positioned as a standalone touch-computing device, while Jamboard is a touch display.

Google opened applications for Early Adopter versions of Jamboard on 25 October, allowing select applicants to receive Jamboards by late October/early November. A few months later, Google announced the Jamboard would officially release sometime in May 2017. There's no word yet on UK availability or pricing, but we've contacted the company for more information and will update when we learn more.

Google said Jamboard will cost $4,999 (about £4,110). Microsoft's Surface Hub starts at $9,000 and goes up to $21,999.

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