Microsoft Reveals Staggered Launch and Upgrade for Surface Hub 2

Microsoft has made changes to the roadmap for its new 50.5″ Surface Hub 2 collaborative display. The Surface Hub 2S will launch in the second quarter of 2019 but, curiously, many of its new features won’t be ready until 2020. To that end, Microsoft has announced an upgrade plan which sounds similar to Samsung’s recently revived “Evolution Kit”.

Users will be able to buy the base 2S model when it is released next year. Then, in 2020, the Surface Hub 2X will arrive in the form of an optional upgrade cartridge, which will slot into the device and introduce features including multiple users, tiling and rotation, plus the new Surface Hub edition of Windows 10, complete with Microsoft Office 365 features. The base 2S version will ship with the standard Surface Hub software package.

Image: Microsoft

Analyst Comment

The original Surface Hub was an impressive and original product, although Microsoft struggled to make it, having set the bar so high by insisting that the front panel should be optically-bonded to the display to minimise parallax. Microsoft clearly wants to run its Surface Hardware business at a profit, but my feeling has always been that it also uses its products to push other system vendors to try harder in performance and features. It has to be assumed that the target product will not be ready until 2020, but that Microsoft does not want to concede all of its good work in building the Surface Hub brand. It must have been very frustrating for staff from the group to have been promoting alternative Windows-based displays at Infocomm this year after the original Hub was discontinued. The end of the Hub also caused some grief for corporate buyers who had standardised on the Hub and must have been irritated by the gap in supply. (BR)