Microsoft today have announced a “teaser” for its new Surface Hub 2, just a day before UC Expo and two months after announcing it had stopped producing the original Surface Hub (which was available in 55” and 84” variants).
While full specification and details are yet to be announced (most likely this will be unveiled in more detail at July’s Inspire event in Las Vegas), the new Surface Hub 2 is a sleek 50.5-inch 4K+ display which makes the original Surface Hub look like a clunky prototype, despite being a hug success for Microsoft, which claims to have sold the Original Surface Hub to more than 5,000 customers across 25 different markets.
The Hub 2 can be rotated with a slight push, turning it into a huge portrait screen making it extremely useful for both scribbling notes with your team mates, colleagues or customers, and for a much more life size/real-life video conferencing experience. The cameras are upgraded and able to work in portrait or landscape mode seamlessly. One of the biggest criticisms of the original Surface Hub was the inability to have two devices paired side by side – with the Surface Hub 2, you can tile up to four devices together to create an even larger display, or spread multiple Hub 2s around the room, each serving different roles.
Microsoft Surface Hub 2 also features rolling cases and specially designed mounts (co-developed with Steelcase) to creative immersive workspaces. Surface Hub 2 has a 3×2 aspect ratio which is unique when compared to other collaborative devices such as the Cisco Spark Board which are all a wider 16×9 format.
The Surface Hub 2 isn’t just another connected display, its roots stretch deep into the heart of Microsoft Collaboration and Team experience vision within Office 365. Panos Panay, Microsoft’s chief product officer, describes the Surface Hub 2 as “more of a huddle board – something that’ll get people out of their seats and collaborating in entirely new ways”.
Surface Hub 2 will still retain many of the great features that users loved about Surface Hub (and the rest of the surface family). There is of course incredible, natural multiple touchscreen support, but you can also throw documents to the Surface Hub 2 from your laptop or mobile device and even control presentations direct from your smart phone. Microsoft Surface Hub is (as anyone that follows Office 365 development) deeply connected to Microsoft Teams which is Microsoft’s new platform for collaboration and team work. The camera is also removable (and connects via USB-C) so multiple Surface Hub devices can stack against each other in portrait or landscape mode.
Size is everything
If you are a fan of the Surface line up in general (Pro, Laptop, Book and Studio), the Hub 2 clearly follows this sleek, quality feel and significantly thinner and lighter than the original Hub (think Surface Pro 1 vs new Surface Pro for comparison).
What about Hub 1
There are software updates scheduled for the original hub which will bring support for Teams along some other key updates and features. Surface Hub 1 will continue to be supported both from a software and hardware replacement/warranty perspective.
When can I get Surface Hub 2
Current shipping dates are touted for early 2019 but we expect pre-orders to be well ahead of this and key customers and partners (such as us) will get access to them as part of an Early Adopter Programme.
This is a key piece of technology for Microsoft and a great new addition to the Surface Family.
Want to see one?
Right now, Microsoft have released the following teaser trailer:
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Written by Rob Quickenden, Cisilion’s Chief Strategy Officer