Microsoft revealed that interested buyers can now try Surface Hub for 30 days and decide whether it wants to purchase the device after or simply ship it back with no obligation to buy whatsoever.
Dubbed as try-and-buy program, the initiative aims to push the Surface Hub technology to more users. There is a fee entailed for this program but the trial will only cost the shipping and installation costs. The amount will reportedly vary from one reseller to another.
The program will go live in the United States and Europe this winter. Unfortunately, it is only targeted at business users. Ordinary consumers will not be able to have their own Hub shipped at home for trial.
Microsoft Surface Hub
With the Surface Hub, Microsoft wants to be at the center of every organization's operations from meetings, presentations even to the way it engages its customers. The innovative possibilities are purportedly numerous with the core philosophy that it serves to facilitate team collaboration.
A Surface Hub includes a base 4K display that could initially be considered a huge flat screen PC. It comes in two variants, the 55-inch and 84-inch Hubs. It is, however, distinguished from any ordinary computer due to its longevity. It reportedly has longer life cycle than PCs.
Custom Collaborative Tools
The Surface Hub is also outfitted with dedicated softwares and applications that collectively leverage its function. For example, it offers a number of collaborative tools such as whiteboard applications and video conferencing tools. The system also supports both Pen and Touch at the same time.
Microsoft's OneDrive and Photos app are all preloaded into the Hub. Naturally, native Windows applications such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint are integrated as well. They all work within a system built exclusively for the Surface Hub.
"Surface Hub is a fantastic illustration of the core strengths of Microsoft coming together to transform team productivity via a completely new type of device. We're combining the power of Windows 10, Skype for Business and Office with innovative hardware from our Microsoft Devices Group," Microsoft said in a post.
To provide some context, a competitor called Mondopad Ultra built by InFocus also pursues the same collaborative objectives for organizations. It is, however, only equipped with a generic Windows 10 operating system. It is severely disadvantaged by the fact that it does not have the customized features offered by the Surface Hub, which allow the platform to become more seamlessly integrated into collaborative initiatives.
Finally, a Hub can work with other Surface Hubs and Surface devices within a humungous windows-based operations wherein a large swath of employees can participate.
For example, if an employee is conducting a presentation, the content is loaded into the connected Hubs and all participants have access and the capability to make modifications and annotations into the presentation. Changes made are saved to the participants' devices.
The interactive nature, therefore, is not only achieved but taken to a higher level, making the solution extremely useful for organizations looking for ways to improve employee productivity, to conduct training or simply to brainstorm strategy or the development of a product.
Surface Hub Alternative
The Surface Hubs only emerging competitor at this point involves Google Jamboard. This is Google's own collaboration kiosk, a 55-inch 4K monitor equipped with the G Suite Collaboration platform. The Surface Hub's base monitor costs $8,999, and the 84-inch variant will ship for an eye-watering $21,999. Google Jamboard, on the other hand, is significantly cheaper with its $6,000 price tag.
A this point it seems that the Surface Hub is already enjoying robust sales. Microsoft has reportedly shipped more than 2,000 Surface Hubs in 24 markets.