Surface Hub 2 will feature a modular design, upgradable processor, but no WCOS at launch

Microsoft has today announced more details regarding the upcoming Surface Hub 2. Announced in May earlier this year, the Surface Hub 2 is Microsoft's second-generation collaborative display, designed for those in the enterprise and enhancing productivity within meetings and team-based projects. Today's announcements talk a little more about the Surface Hub 2's hardware, including its plans for its rollout and software experiences.

According to Microsoft, Surface Hub 2 features a modular design that makes it easy to upgrade when required. A new "processor cartridge" can be removed, upgraded, and serviced over time, which should increase the lifespan of Surface Hub 2 for customers considerably. In addition, Microsoft has also announced rollout plans for Surface Hub 2, with the first Surface Hub 2 shipments rolling out in phases starting Q2 2019.

What's interesting here is the 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 available today. This means the unique Surface Hub 2 experiences such as smooth rotation, live wallpapers, and the ability to connect multiple Surface Hub 2's together for a larger display, won't be available on day one. Microsoft says these unique software experiences will arrive in an update called "Surface Hub 2X" in 2020.

The update requires Surface Hub 2S users to upgrade the processor to enable the new Surface Hub 2 experiences when they're made available. Microsoft hasn't explained why a processor upgrade is required for this, and it also hasn't said how much the processor upgrade is going to cost. It sounds a lot like "Windows Core OS" (WCOS) for Surface Hub 2 has been delayed until 2020, as all of the unique Surface Hub 2 features that were demoed back in May were built on Windows Core OS. Now, Surface Hub 2 is simply going to ship with the older Surface Hub OS, and upgrade to the new one based on Windows Core OS in 2020 when it's ready.

Microsoft says it's doing this because customers asked for the same Surface Hub experience in a slimmer design with updated specifications. The only other alternative would be to not ship Surface Hub 2 until 2020 at the earliest, which Microsoft doesn't want to do as there are businesses ready to buy Surface Hub 2 now. So, it'll ship with Surface Hub 2S, and in 2020, Surface Hub 2X will become available for Surface Hub 2 users to upgrade to.

What are your thoughts on these launch plans for Surface Hub 2? 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 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter and Threads