Earlier this year, Microsoft created a bit of hype when it talked about its Surface Hub videoconferencing systems, and updates arrived regarding the device: they will be late and more expensive.
Microsoft described the Surface Hubs as an essential, powerful tool for the business sector, ready to equip conference rooms around the world. The unveiling took place at the beginning of 2015, during a Windows 10 event.
The Redmond-based company presented two models: a 55-inch display that sports an i5 Core and Intel HD Graphics 4600, and an 84-inch display for the biggest players in the global market. The latter features an i7 CPU and an NVIDIA Quadro K2200 GPU.
In June, Microsoft declared that the initial price of the 55-inch Surface Hub was of $6,999, while the 84-inch variant cost $19,999.
In an email statement sent a few days ago, in December, the company updated this bit of information, showing $8,999 and $21,999 price points for the conference room equipment.
Surface Hub systems, which run on a special version of Windows 10, are customized multi-touch, digital-pen compatible electronic whiteboards.
The 55-inch and 84-inch models feature custom-designed versions of Microsoft Office, OneNote and Skype for Business. For team leaders who want to require certain apps from the unified Windows Store, the big displays can run those, as well. The default package contains a wireless keyboard and two pens, next to the display of your choice.
The interactive display does not substitute for a giant desktop screen, but will function autonomously. The specially designed functionality targets the most common conference room activities, and due to the custom apps and the touch-friendly interface, meeting productivity is guaranteed to surge.
The manufacturer of the Surface Hub boasts that the giant display has 100 multitouch points. This means that up to three styluses are able to work on the board simultaneously, doing things such as writing, dragging and dropping files across the screen, or other similar tasks.
On the video conferencing side, background noise gets minimized by the dual 1080p cameras and microphones which use noise dampening technologies.
Connectivity-wise, the wall-mounted gadgets sport strong processing options as well as a number of ports. There is also NFC and Bluetooth compatibility, which let users connect to the display from different devices.
It is not uncommon for big enterprises to spend hefty sums in order to have the best featured conference rooms, and for the big names in the economy, the 84-inch Surface Hub might be a good choice. Startups that are ambitious and could use the functionality of the big display will likely have to settle for the cheaper version.
The company pointed out that clients who preordered the devices before the price update will receive the items for the original price. The OEM did not explain why it decided to boost prices.
"After evaluating the market opportunity, [...] we believe these are the right prices to drive the business and the category forward," a spokesperson from the company told ZDNet. The company also underlined that it evaluates and promotes the specific collaboration scenarios of Surface Hub.
Even though the Surface Hub's release date was Sept. 1, 2015, sources from Microsoft hinted that the two videoconferencing systems will get to customers starting Jan. 1, 2016.
Microsoft updated this information as well, and the company swears that its aim is to bring the promised items as soon as possible. This means that it is likely that businesses will be able to start making video calls through Surface Hubs in the first quarter of next year.
If you want to empower your organization with a larger than life display that has a foot into the 22nd century, you may still preorder the Surface Hub in 24 markets.