The Surface Hub 2 is Microsoft's follow-up to 2015's Surface Hub, and its answer to Google's humongous Jamboard. It's a device that facilitates collaborative workspaces, and as such, it's meant primarily for the office, an area Microsoft is steadily attempting to capture.
For now, its specs are still to be determined, but Microsoft did showcase the model's new sleek design and shared some information about key features, including portrait mode and its improved thin-bezel display. The company will definitely share more tidbits before launch, which is expected sometime in 2019.
In a blog post, Microsoft says the inspiration for the Surface Hub 2 came from its desire to explore beyond office collaborations and take the whiteboard concept to a place where different kinds of collaborators are invited to be more productive.
Innovating The Whiteboard
The Surface Hub 2 is attached to a rolling cart designed by Steelcase, so users can easily lug it around anywhere for optimal views. People work in different kinds of workspaces nowadays, be it in a traditional office space or somewhere more unconventional, like open settings. So it makes sense why Microsoft had to think not only of the device itself but also how efficiently it can be moved.
"Whether the [Surface Hub 2] is on a cart or mounted on a wall, we believe that this flexibility will serve up to scale across all sorts of different use cases," Windows and Surface Business Group boss Ryan Asdourian said to PCMag. "We really think this new flexibility will help teams work more productively and collaboratively."
Surface Hub 2 Specs
In terms of internals, Microsoft has very little to say for now. Asdourian said it's still a work in progress, and factors such as weight have yet to be determined. One thing is for sure: the device will be powered by a custom version of Windows 10 much like its predecessor, but exactly how the operating system will be adapted for this kind of platform remains to be seen.
The Surface Hub 2 will boast a 50.5-inch display with a resolution higher than 4K, a huge step up from the original Surface Hub, which was offered in either 1080p or 4K variants. Microsoft is tight-lipped on the exact resolution, but needless to say that it'll look sharp at that size.
Moving from landscape to portrait mode will be a breeze — just turn the display in the preferred orientation, and the software will automatically adjust. This is a huge upgrade from the original model, which was locked to landscape mode. It'll also be possible to connect multiple Surface Hub 2 displays together and create one unified workspace. Microsoft calls this Tiling Mode.
Surface Hub 2 Pricing And Release Date
Pricing details remain thin, but Asdourian said it will cost as much as "other high-end whiteboards." Just for comparison, the original Surface Hub costs $8,999. Considering the follow-up has a nicer display and presumably more powerful specs, users can expect it to cost as much, if not more, than the first generation.
Microsoft will test the device with select customers throughout 2018 and is eyeing a 2019 launch.