from the a-new-hubby dept.
Microsoft is unveiling the next-generation of its giant conference room displays today: Surface Hub 2. While the original Surface Hub shipped in 2016 with 1080p 55-inch and 4K 84-inch options, the Surface Hub 2 will use a 50.5-inch display with a greater than 4K resolution and 3:2 aspect ratio with extremely thin bezels. That's the same ratio as all other Surface products, and Microsoft has clearly picked this to compliment the fact its giant display now rotates to a portrait position.
[...] While it's still based on Windows 10, Microsoft is working on a new dynamic collaboration scenario that will allow multiple people to walk up to the Surface Hub 2, log into the device using the built-in fingerprint reader and then each pull their own work into a single collaborative document. Most of the software will be optimized for Microsoft Teams, and far-field microphones and 4K cameras will allow you to make video calls in portrait mode that make it feel like you're standing next to a colleague.
[...] Microsoft says pricing will be in line with similar competitive devices, which could mean we'll see a more aggressive price point to counter Google's own digital whiteboard. Microsoft has already sold Surface Hubs to more than 5,000 businesses in 25 countries. More than half of Fortune 100 companies already own a Surface Hub, and it's the most popular Surface device for enterprise customers. By simplifying to a single display size (50.5-inch) with the Surface Hub 2, the hardware should be easier to manufacture. Microsoft has struggled to manufacture Surface Hub devices to meet demand, and the company closed its US manufacturing plant last year, presumably to cut costs and speed up production elsewhere.
Google has announced Jamboard, a 55-inch 4K touchscreen not unlike Microsoft's Surface Hub. In fact, Microsoft's version of the interactive whiteboard concept comes in two sizes - 84 inches (2160p) and 55 inches (1080p):
Tools like handwriting and shape help streamline the process and worked quite well in my own hands-on time with the product. The board also has 16 levels of pressure sensitive touch and nice little animations that bring small things like erasing to life, as you watch the text flake and fall off the display. The system runs on a highly specialized version of Android that features a built in browser and Google Maps among other features, along with opening it up to potential third-party apps. It also has Google Cast built in, so you can also use it as a big video display, complete with speakers that face down into the magnetic tray that holds the styli and eraser. The speakers, from what I heard aren't great, but they're plenty loud and will do the trick with teleconferencing audio. You can also just use the built-in Bluetooth to run it all through a speaker.
[...] All of the collaboration occurs in real-time, making it possible to monitor the board on a mobile device with minimal latency. And once a project is finished, it can be shared with the team as a PNG or PDF. [...] The board can be mounted to a wall or users can choose to buy the optional stand. All said, it should run less than $6,000 when it launches next year.
Microsoft is unveiling hardware changes to its Surface Hub 2 today. The software giant first unveiled its 50-inch display earlier this year, with a promise of a 2019 release. While the hardware will now be released in Q2 of 2019, many of the cool new software features will require a hardware and software update set to launch in 2020.
Microsoft is planning to use removable processor cartridges in its Surface Hub 2S product that launches next year, and users will be able to purchase an upgrade cartridge to the Surface Hub 2X in 2020. The cartridges slot into the back of the Surface Hub 2 hardware and can be upgraded or serviced. Microsoft's hardware upgrades sound similar to Samsung's previous efforts with smart TVs that you could upgrade each year with an "evolution kit" that updated the processor.