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Microsoft isn't sure if it'll ever ship a Surface Hub 2X

Surface Hub 2X
Surface Hub 2X (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft says it "may or may not" ship a Surface Hub 2X in the future.
  • It's focused on delivering the 85-inch Surface Hub 2S in 2020.
  • A major OS update is coming soon to the Surface Hub V1 and Surface Hub 2S.

Microsoft has finally addressed the whereabouts of it's mythical Surface Hub 2X device, which was announced in 2018 as coming in 2020 with a new OS that enabled unique features such as tiling, dynamic rotation, and more. In a webinar aimed at customers and resellers, Microsoft says that focus has shifted over to delivering the 85-inch Surface Hub 2S, and that it doesn't anticipate releasing a Surface Hub 2X this year.

Initially, Microsoft was planning to ship the Surface Hub 2X with a new OS called Windows Core, a modular platform that both HoloLens 2 and Surface Neo are based upon. Unfortunately, it appears those plans have been shelved for now. Some of the unique features touted as part of the 2X will now be coming to the 2S in the form of a software update, which will be based on the existing Windows 10 Team SKU instead.

The whole reason why Microsoft split the Surface Hub 2 into two SKUs to begin with was because Windows Core OS wasn't something that Microsoft could deliver as an over the air update, as it's vastly different from Windows 10 Team. Now that Windows Core OS isn't coming to Surface Hub anytime soon, the need for a Surface Hub 2X is no longer necessary.

Today, both Surface Hub V1 and Surface Hub 2S are running Windows 10 Team version 1703, which was released almost three years ago. Now that Windows Core OS isn't coming anytime soon, Microsoft will update Windows 10 Team to version 2004 for both Surface Hub 1 and 2S, and introduce features such as tiling and rotation. This is actually great news for existing Surface Hub customers.

But what does this mean for the future of Windows Core OS on the Surface Hub?

Is Windows Core OS for Hub dead?

Windows Core OS 'Aruba'

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The answer isn't entirely clear. Microsoft itself is unsure if it'll ship a Surface Hub 2X in the future, stating that it "may or may not" do so at some point down the line. It does appear to be leaving the door open, but it's clear that there are no immediate plans to move Surface Hub over to the modern Windows Core OS platform, and is instead focused on updating Windows 10 Team with new features and improvements.

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The question now is: why has Microsoft halted plans to ship Windows Core OS on the Surface Hub 2? I don't have a concrete answer, however, I was told back in December that Microsoft had deprecated the version of Windows Core OS that it was working on for Surface Hub 2X, but that we could still see a Surface Hub 2X ship with a variant of Windows 10X (which is also based on Windows Core OS) in the future. I don't know if that's still the case.

If I had to guess, Microsoft just doesn't deem it necessary to move the Surface Hub to Windows Core OS at this time. Windows Core OS is a lightweight platform that shines on mobile devices like Surface Neo and HoloLens 2. While there are benefits to running Windows Core OS on any kind of device, it's likely none of those reasons are super important for Microsoft to prioritize shipping it on a device like the Surface Hub 2.

It's also possible that development on Windows Core OS is behind, but that doesn't explain the deprecation of the variant of Windows Core OS that Microsoft was building for Surface Hub 2. I'll be interested to see if down the line, we end up seeing a Surface Hub running a variant of Windows 10X. Microsoft may even want to wait until the Surface Hub 3 before it attempts to bring Surface Hub into the Windows Core OS family.

Microsoft tells us that it will have more to share regarding Surface Hub in the coming months. In the meantime, are you a Surface Hub customer? What are your thoughts on this change of plan? Let us know in the comments.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

46 Comments
  • Next question: With the delays and/or cancellations on Microsoft OS plans, will the Duo AND the Neo both ship running Google OS Android? The Duo may or may not fail, but Microsoft has already admitted that Google's OS is better than anything Microsoft could build for it. And, Microsoft already jumped to Chromium for it's browsers. So why not just admit defeat and make Google's Android their choice for their new devices? I don't want it to be about Nadella because he's been really successful with the Azure, Surface, and Office 365 products he inherited from Ballmer. His other success is that he cut the products he inherited from Balmer that were not successful. However, except for tweaks or niche products like Hololens, Nadella has been more successful manager than inventor. Creating a new light weight OS seems beyond his skillset, but managing devices running Google's Android seems like something he may be able to do successfully. At least until Microsoft risks another innovator at CEO, I feel just going all in on someone else's success is the best strategy for a Nadella led Microsoft.
  • The reason MS is using Android for the Duo is because they can't get app dev support and anything phone like is doomed without apps. That's the beginning and end of it. Also, CEOs and software engineering doesn't work like that. At all.
  • Bold of you to assume that they will just go all Google just because they have Edge run Chromium, Duo run Android, and them being uncertain about releasing a Surface Hub 2X... Windows 10X is about to be released this year, and Windows 10 is still a thing. Just because they have a few products have a bit of Google in it, doesn't mean that they will be a 2nd party to Google...
  • We'll see, and I hope not. But Zach is already reporting the Duo will be released ahead of the Neo and that Windows 10 X is reporting a bit behind schedule and with performance issues. Stuff like this is why the planned Windows version of the Duo was cancelled and they bent the knee to Google Android. Now with CoreOS apparently struggling to cross the finish line in other products, why not do the same thing they already did... go with Google Android for the Neo too. They are already investing heavily to make their software work on dual screen Google Android devices, they are working on enhancements with Google on Android so dual screens work well, and even the Microsoft launcher will work on Google Android dual screens. It may not happen, but if all the rumors around Microsoft not being able to successfully deliver an OS, they will discuss the Google Android option (if they haven't already).
  • Android is probably a better choice for the Neo, but it is built around Intel. Android and Intel don't mix that well, and switching to ARM wouldn't be trivial.
  • That's strong Nadella hate man. He is just doing what's best for the company. If you are consumer then sadly Microsoft has nothing interesting to offer you. Find peace and move on.
  • That's exactly what I'm saying he's doing, and why he may turn to Google Android for the Neo.
  • Neo will not ship with Android. It'll be Windows, or nothing at all.
  • @Zac Bowden Not sure why you're so certain of that. Who ever imagined Microsoft would adopt Android for their mobile devices or Chromium as their browser? Unless you have inside information I fail to see why you're so confident.
  • Yeah WC and their "insider information"... just go back in time at least 2-3-4 years and read WC articles. Literally only BS
  • Exactly. First, we heard that "Windows phone is not dead". Next, that morphed into "Killing Windows phone was always part of the plan. It had to die so we could get The Next Great Thing". Then, The Next Great Thing turned out to be an Android tablet. Yawn. Now, we constantly hear that UWP is not dead. Uh huh. Because the settings app and the Win 10 calculator uses it. BFD. No one else is using it. Plus, Office is not UWP. Edge is not UWP. Outlook is not UWP. Microsoft just killed something or other (I forget what it was, some kind of feedback portal?) because UWP could not deliver "the experience we wanted". The latest announcement is that MS is killing the "ad monetization" for UWP. Yeah man. UWP has a BRIGHT future.
  • thats PWA you are talking about and not UWP which got cancelled. https://www.windowscentral.com/microsoft-kills-project-catnip-pwa-projec...
  • Ah yes, my mistake.
  • WindowsCentral.com -- tomorrow's Crackberry.com. The UWP articles are just too optimistic and cheery for reality. I wish it weren't the case. I love Windows. I love my Surface devices. But we need to do more "putting fire to Microsoft's feet" than pretending everything is okay in Redmond.
  • Any idea of how many Surface Hubs they are selling and to whom are they selling? If it is measured in the 100's with an installed base of 1000's, why spend your R&D resources building a new OS for this one device. Spend the money on new capabilities on a stable Processor/Chip Set. This will allow you to spend more R&D dollars in expanding the Office 365/Teams ecosystem throughout the iOS, Android, Windows ecosystems. From time to time, I watch my friends (corporate types) handel executive level issues while they are on vacation, at dinner, etc. They use their device. So if Office 365 Teams is trying to tie all the moving parts inot a seamless information process, you need to make sure that the one guy who has to add input does not have to go to the office. The guy sitting in front of the Hub is talking to the guy sitting at a beach, on a plane, at a dinner table, or simple watching his kids play a sport. Thus it is all the other devices that must tie into this ecosystem. Given that the Hub is a "long duration" device with a stable chip set, you dont really need to change the OS.
  • "Duo will not ship with Android. It'll be Windows, or nothing at all.": That is a very strong and arrogant point of view. Buddy, one thing to learn from Satya Nadella is to throw your pride in the gutter and follow the money. As long as we can get Man on Mars, do we care if the credit goes to China?
  • And we also expected to see a surface phone with Windows 10 on but instead we now will get us a Duo Android phone... Samsung I stick to now. Microsoft is zigzaging too much and does not back up their Mobile products. Symbian, Windows 7 phones, Windows 8 phones and Windows 10 Mobile have all been let down.
  • This is disturbing. As a developer who has supported Microsoft for decades, I am loosing hope.
  • I'm surprised all the windows phone reboots haven't made you loose hope already
  • I am a developer as well. I ditched Microsoft as a consumer platform. My Microsoft technologies are limited to ASP.Net development at the moment. As for consumer software? Only on iOS and Android. That can pay the bills. No more desktop development. The web-browser is all they get. Sad, because I love Windows and the Surface devices I have. But they are essentially (other than Office and Visual Studio) ending up to be glorified Chromebooks.
  • Is loosing hope the right idea, shouldn't we refrain from releasing them until absolutely necessary, think of the children!
  • Microsoft is wondering why they can't get developers on board.
    If you are a consumer there isnt much interesting microsoft can offer you. Nothing seems to be a priority other than Azure and O365.
  • Wow, this adds up to some other recent cancelations. I'm still reeling from US losing Cortana outside US.
  • Loosing faith in Microsoft's ability to deliver.
  • At this point it's not even business anymore. Microsoft is just incompetent as a software developer company. I still remember the times when that title was Apple's. Everyone mocked Apple how they can't write software and that Microsoft is the king of software and OSes. Then Apple just killed it. Destroyed it. Annihilated it on the software development front. MacOS, iOS, iPadOS, tvOS are more coherent with each other and seamless than anything Microsoft has ever dreamt of. Apple achieved "One OS" literally 10 years ago. And Microsoft are just incompetent noobs. Is Microsoft first on marketshare/usage in anything they compete in actually?
    Azure -> second to AWS (by a lot)
    Xbox -> second to PS (by a lot)
    Bing -> second to Google (by a lot)
    Edge -> distant N to Chrome, Safari, FF and even Opera (by a lot)
    Mobile efforts -> come on...
    .NET -> second to Java (by a lot)
    Skype -> second to any other IM client (by a lot)
    Outlook -> second to Gmail (by a lot)
    OneDrive -> second to GDrive (by a lot)
    Dynamics -> second to SAP (by a lot)
    Windows Server -> second to RedHat (by a lot)
    Movies & TV -> what the hell is even that??
    Expensive laptops -> second to MacBooks (by a lot)
    Expensive tablets -> second to iPad (by a lot)
    Surface Headphones/Buds -> not even in the conversation
    Market Cap -> second to Apple
    Cash on hand -> second to Google Office and Windows NT are the only two things MS is leading, and both are 30+ years old products. Microsoft are the pure definition of pathetic
  • To be fair, second place is not a bad place to be. Apple is in second place to Android (by a lot), but they are doing fine. A distant 3rd place is another story. Which is why Windows phones failed.
  • Agreed, second doesn't automatically mean failure.
  • Apple is not second to Android. In their premium segment Apple has the biggest marketshare compared to any OEM in existence. Apple don't sell cheap cr*p. In their price tag they are winning (by a lot).
  • I am not talking manufacturers. Apple IS second to Android. Period. By a lot. If you have to cherry pick numbers, then you have not made a point.
  • Apple makes more profit on the iPhone business than all of the Android manufacturers combined, I'd hardly call that "cherry picking."
  • You kidding me right? What cherry picking? iPhone is the best selling single phone produced by a single company. Which Android device has bigger marketshare than iPhone in its price category? Can you point it please?
  • "To be fair, second place is not a bad place to be." That's what a loser would say.
  • They are second a lot, but not to any single company/ competitor. They are second in so many fields which other companies can only dream of.
  • Yeah well Apple are first in everything they compete in (with very very few exceptions). How about that?
  • Since the Surface Neo is also based on Windows CoreOS, what effect (if any) will it have on its release timeline?
  • It means it could be delayed and/or cancelled.
  • Is the chick in the Surface Hub video the same one in the Surface Duo video?
  • Correct me if I am wrong. But isn't the Surface Hub just a really big All-in-one? Isn't it really designed to serve as a large Surface that handles inking via whiteboard, skype and various other services for the enterprise? Are they not focused on Teams through Office 365? While I can appreciate the need to modernize the OS, it seems to me these large costly devices are integrated into the Corporate IT Department and I am sure there are a few people in these departments that will provision the Surface Hub with the appropriate software/security updates that is tied to other Windows OS systems running PC, Laptops, 2 in 1, etc. As much as we like to think of the Windows ecosystem as PC centric, it is morphing into a cloud based services ecosystems supporting multiple people interacting through different devices/locations. So if you are going to pay MSFT several 100's per year for each employee to use Office and they will be using android, iOS and Windows devices, I think they need to make sure all these devices work seamlessly between ecosystems. Thus the need for a Windows Core powered Hub seems less important to me. Now once they get Surface Pro X up and running on whatever Windows OS they like, then MSFT can begin to broaden that OS to more form factors. IS the Surface Hub going to be running on an ARM processor? No. So stick with Windows that you know works for a small group of devices managed by highly paid IT professionals. Focus your R&D on new capabilities to this software rather than a new OS.
  • "Now once they get Surface Pro X up and running on whatever Windows OS they like" SPX runs Windows 10 for ARM, so I'm not exactly what you mean by that.
  • I think he is saying that the Surface X should run Windows 10X. Microsoft should be concentrating resources on getting that released first. It would be much more impactful than the Hub.
  • Sounds like they will bring the features (they showed on Hub 2X) to Hub 2S with OS update. If that's the case, NOT releasing a separate 2X hardware with new OS - is a good choice. These things are expensive, so upgrade by the customers may be few and far between and no need to support two different version of hardware and software. Not having to work on Core OS may help them concentrate resources on Windows 10X.
  • Yes and no. No one bought the older hardware. Either would be new to most and it might as well be the new New.
    Not that this thing will be missed.
    If I want a giant touch TV for inking I'll just project a tablet deskop on it
  • Microsoft is spreading itself too thin and is losing in many fronts to main competitors on AI. Google aims to catch up on cloud with effective democratizing AI technologies that Microsoft is behind. It will soon be like Surface Duo in Android, if u can not compete, work with your competitors.. Google AI technologies determine which OS will have the best latest updates, naturally it will not be Windows 10.
  • How many technologies Microsoft is working with Google? Browser: Edge chromium
    Mobile: Android Microsoft launcher and apps
    Device: Surface Duo Next:
    This is why we are here to discuss Why?
    It has becomes more and more evidence... The different Microsoft technology divisions do not talk to each other to develop synergies to make Microsoft competes as ONE Very disappointed.. 3D is the future... More and more VR, AR, MR wearables Microsoft systematically closes all 3D effort 3D stores targeting education channels 3D View... Behind in reliability to 3D open source projects. Microsoft needs to fund. NET friendly open source game engine. U can write a book documenting where the Microsoft 3D initiatives fail. ==== the cloud business is fantastic great now. Disruption is eroding this great achievement
  • It is great Microsoft is embracing open source. The more success is Microsoft in enterprise focus business, the less democratizing the key relevant technologies. The result, less innovation through open source, the more chance to be disrupted. The next 5 years is no longer big giants from US competing with each other Huawei or similar from China are joining the competition to out smart other gaint. The key to compete is how to mobilize open source to speed up the competition.
  • I think surface hub would look better as a giant iPhone..