Microsoft is proving a peek into the next-generation Surface Hub 2, its giant conference room display. Microsoft is refreshing the Surface Hub after nearly two years and while the original Surface Hub came in 55-inch 1080p and 84-inch 4K models, the new Surface Hub 2 comes with a 50.5-inch display supporting higher 4K resolution and 3:2 aspect ratio similar to that of other Surface devices.
One of the major change this year is the ability to rotate the Surface Hub 2 from landscape to portrait mode. The 3:2 aspect ratio has been chosen with the portrait mode in mind, which tends to serve as a giant tablet and will allow for more apps in the same window. When the Surface Hub 2 is rotated into place, the mechanism in place seems to be similar to that of Surface Book‘s muscle wire lock.
Microsoft is not particularly sharing the complete specifications of the new Surface Hub 2 at this moment. There is no word on its release date and pricing just yet but it is expected to be available in 2019. The announcement yesterday is a glimpse into the future of whiteboard and gives an opportunity for Microsoft’s enterprise customers to order the device in advance.
The teaser video posted by Microsoft shows that Surface Hub 2 follows on the design guidelines of other Surface products and looks stunning with virtually little or no bezels around the display. It is also designed in such a way that customers can buy multiple Surface Hub 2 and set them up together for a more immersive user experience. The video also shows the tweaked user interface which now seems to put more emphasis on collaborative work environment. According to The Verge, Microsoft is working on a new dynamic collaboration scenario where each user can walk up to the Surface Hub 2 and log into the device using the built-in fingerprint sensor and pull up their own work into a collaborative work document.
The software is also expected to be optimized for Teams, Microsoft’s collaboration and communication tool that comes bundled with Office 365 subscription. There is further emphasis on the tile interface which allows users to display different content side-by-side on the display. There is also a removable 4K webcam connected via USB Type-C port.
The new Surface Hub 2 is also designed to be moved across work environments making it a dynamic device over the static nature of its predecessor. The Redmond-based tech giant is also said to be working with Steelcase to produce stands and wall mounts for the digital inking tool. Microsoft kind of pioneered this idea of giant touchscreen devices for workplace collaboration and replacement to standard whiteboard in meeting rooms. However, it has seen new rivals in the form of Google’s $5,000 Jamboard and Samsung Flip, which is priced at Rs 3 lakhs in India.
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Microsoft is expected to price the Surface Hub 2 in line with its competitors and will be interesting especially considering that it has sold Surface Hubs to over 5,000 business establishments in 25 countries. Microsoft would be hoping to avoid the delay it saw with the original Surface Hub and is also introducing an early adopter program where select customers can test the device before its broader availability to consumers.