Microsoft plans to ship a next-generation Surface Hub 2 in 2019, boasting a smaller, lighter, more modular design that will encourage workers to share the screen, as well as their notes and files.
Announced Tuesday, Microsoft said the new 50.5-inch Surface Hub 2 will boast a “4K plus” display in the traditional 3:2 ratio of Surface devices. It will weigh between 25 and 35 kilograms (55 and 77 pounds), making it smaller and lighter than the previous Surface Hub. Ryan Day, a spokesman for the company, described the adjustment in the design as “shipping a TV, not a piano.”
Just as the original Surface Hub’s 82-inch, 4K display blew users away, two hardware elements on the Surface Hub 2 should do the same. One is a rolling easel-like stand for a single unit, and the other is the ability to mount four Surface Hub 2s next to one another, creating a massive wall of pixels.
What this means to you: Like the original Surface Hub, don’t expect to pick up the Surface Hub 2 from your local electronics store. Remember how the Hub works: you organize a meeting, walk into the room, and present to your colleagues locally and remotely via dead-simple Skype video calls, whiteboarding, and other tools. It’s a solid, interesting concept, though as a wired device it can’t be as mobile as Millennials are. Nevertheless, the first Hub was impressive, and the Hub 2 looks sharp as well.
Microsoft debuted the first-generation Surface Hub in January, 2015, at the remarkable event that also introduced the world to the HoloLens. More than a year later, the company shipped the monstrous 82-inch display for $22,000, clearly pricing it for enterprise budgets. (A 55-inch version was about $9,000.)
Microsoft’s original Surface Hub was somewhat rudimentary, with Skype and whiteboarding as the go-to apps. But as Microsoft’s concept of the workplace has evolved, the Surface Hub 2 will be a key component of what Microsoft now calls the “intelligent edge,” a catch-all term for the PCs, phones, and other devices that will interface with the “intelligent cloud” of Microsoft’s apps and services, Day said. With the Surface Hub 2, Microsoft’s trying to enable what it calls “immersive collaboration,” allowing as many people access to the device as possible.