Microsoft's Surface Hub 2 was announced 10 months ago, but at the time many details, including how much it will cost, specifications, and when companies can buy it, were missing.
That's about to change on April 17 in New York City, where Surface head Panos Panay and his team may finally give all the details about Microsoft's popular collaboration display. We should also be able to finally get a video hands-on of the new hardware and see how it all works.
Invites were just sent for what is presumed to be a very low-key media event in cooperation with Steelcase. The theme of the event is "experience new ways to work better, together", which is very much in line with the Surface Hub 2.
What Surface Hub 2 is and what's new
Surface Hub 2 is the follow-up to the original Surface Hub from 2015. Surface Hub 2S (there are two versions) is the one releasing soon, and it features a 50.5-inch "more than 4K" display with a familiar 3:2 aspect ratio. There is also a 4K video camera, built-in speakers, a new Surface Pen (more like a marker), far-field microphone array, and a near bezel-less screen.
The way Surface Hub 2 operates, however, is the big deal. As we wrote last year:
The secret mojo though is that the new Surface Hub 2 can now rotate on an ingenious new hinge that lets users quickly switch the giant computer from landscape to portrait orientations. The large Surface can be mounted to a wall or on a new roller cart to make it more mobile.
Companies with deep pockets can splurge for two Surface Hub 2's placed side by side in landscape, or up to four Surface Hub 2's mounted adjacently in portrait mode. The PCs can then operate independently or together.
The Surface Hub 2 also features a thumbprint login system for Windows Hello, and in a new twist, the OS lets two users simultaneously log into the PC to share information in real time between accounts.
Windows 10 PCs and those using Microsoft Teams on any device (iOS, Android, or Windows) can interact with Surface Hub 2 directly and in "dynamic collaboration" using apps like OneNote, Teams, and Whiteboard in the office or across the world.
The other significant feature is that Surface Hub 2 has a modular design. A new "processor cartridge" can be removed, upgraded, and serviced over time, which should increase the lifespan of Surface Hub 2.
Surface Hub 2 in 2019 will ship with a software experience known as Surface Hub 2S, which is the same version of Windows 10 found on the original Surface Hub. An enhanced OS that won't be available until at least 2020 will bring smoother rotation, live wallpapers, and the ability to connect multiple Surface Hub 2s together for a larger display. That OS experience is dubbed "Surface Hub 2X" and is expected to be running Windows Core OS.
Surface Hub 2 and our April 17 expectations
Microsoft's Panay, who oversees the Surface line, is expected to demonstrate the full capability of Surface Hub 2 on April 17, including how organizations like schools, creatives, and businesses can use the display for remote collaboration.
Details on the processor, RAM, storage and more should also be shared along with how the modular system works for hardware upgrades.
Microsoft previously announced that Surface Hub 2 should ship in the second quarter of 2019, but now we should get a firm date for that release.
Finally, official pricing for Surface Hub 2 should be announced as well. Previously, Microsoft told us pricing is in line with "similar devices" (the last-gen 55-inch Surface Hub costs $8,999).
We will be at the April 17 event in New York City to cover the announcement. However, it is not expected to be live streamed.