Microsoft gave an early look at its next-generation Surface Hub 2 today. It will go on sale next year, with certain selected customers testing it this year.
Microsoft’s Surface Hub, its conference room computer, was something of a surprise hit. The system has been in short supply since its launch about three years ago, especially in its 84-inch version: its combination of video conferencing and whiteboarding makes it a collaborative tool with few direct competitors.
The central feature of the new system is that it’s a 50.5-inch 4K display with a rotating mount. Instead of the traditional 16:9 aspect ratio, the Surface Hub 2 has the same 3:2 ratio of Microsoft’s other Surface systems. Need a larger screen? Up to four Surface Hub 2s can be tiled together in either portrait or landscape mode. The bezels are much narrower to enable this kind of tiling. Even with this much sleeker look, it still contains speakers, a far-field microphone array, and a camera.
Microsoft is also addressing a complaint we’ve heard a few times about the first generation—its lack of portability—and is partnering with Steelcase to develop an official line of rolling stands and mounts. Surface Hub 2 will include improved software, supporting multiple user sign-ons, making it easier to access private documents to use them collaboratively.