Microsoft has unveiled a refresh for its Surface Hub line, with new hardware likely to ship sometime in 2019.
In a video hinting of new Windows interfaces, but somewhat light on detail, Microsoft showed off the newest edition of the whiteboard business collaboration tool.
The existing Windows 10-powered device began shipping in 2016 and the multitouch screens currently come in 55-inch and 84-inch flavours at $8,999 and $21,999 respectively. While not initially a runaway sales success, it has gained a foothold in the corporate space with Microsoft claiming 5,000 customers (including over half of the Fortune 100 companies.)
The Surface Hub is aimed fairly and squarely at customers who have bought into Microsoft’s collaboration platforms, and while a good proportion of the screens will have found themselves serving up interminable PowerPoint presentations, that really isn’t the point of the thing. Microsoft hopes users will leap from their seats and prod the screens with excited fingers.
The new incarnation, currently only a 50.5-inch display although with a resolution bump to what Microsoft is calling “4K+”, ups the ante somewhat. Skinny bezels allow up to four of the things to be snapped together, giving a wide display showing multiple applications.
4K cameras and far-field mics mean that hiding in teleconferences will become even more of a challenge, while a wall mount that allows the 3:2 ratio screen to rotate between landscape and portrait makes for a great demo. How much real-world use such a feature would see is debatable.
With previews of the devices due to arrive later this year and general availability happening in 2019, it will be a while before actual hardware is in the hands of users. It is expected the Hub 2 will be pitched at around the same price as the current device.