Microsoft is trying to change the way we work at the office and their idea of how the future should look like becomes real through the next-generation interactive whiteboard – Surface Hub 2.
In September 2015, Microsoft launched the first electronic whiteboard – Surface Hub – that also has video conferencing features, designed to make office work more accessible and interactive. Even though this device didn’t take off the way the company expected, it believes that the second-generation model will be more successful due to its more stylish appearance and its sophisticated features.
The first- vs. the second-generation
The original Surface Hub came out in two sizes: with a 1080p and 55-inch display and with 4K 84-inch display. The 55-inch panel came with an Intel Core i5 chip from the 4th generation, with integrated HD 4600 graphics, whereas its bigger brother, the 84-inch panel came with an i7 and Nvidia Quadro K2200 GPU. The prices of these two models were about 9,000 US dollars, respectively $20,000 and were one of the major aspects that held back uptake.
Compared to the first-gen device, Surface Hub 2 will come with a 50.5-inch display, with 3:2 aspect ratio and top-notch resolution, which will be greater than 4K, not to mention about the incredibly thin bezels.
Another upside that Microsoft mentioned about this new electronic whiteboard iteration is the fact that now it can be used in both portrait and landscape position, as it can be rotated depending on the users’ needs. A clever mechanism is implemented in the Surface Hub 2 device that is somehow similar to the muscle wire lock used by Microsoft in the designing and manufacturing of Surface Book.
What makes Surface Hub 2 so stunning
Although the device still operates on Windows 10, the company announced that they’re working on a new method to implement that will allow multiple people to collaborate and make changes to their projects simultaneously. They will log into the Surface Hub 2 using the built-in fingerprint reader, share their work and even combine their ideas into a single collaborative document.
The group chat software – Microsoft Teams – will also be available on the device. Additionally, the 4K cameras and amazing far-field microphones will allow businesspersons to make video conference calls at high quality. By placing the panel in portrait mode, it will be like the person behind the screen is standing right in front of you.
Other characteristics of the device are its lightweight and flexibility, which allows you to move the panel throughout the office effortlessly. Also, you will be able to “tile” four panels together on a wall and have all of them linked as multiple monitors or one bigger monitor. For this, Microsoft teamed up with Steelcase.
There are still certain aspects related to Surface Hub 2 that Microsoft hasn’t talked about yet. For instance, the exact weight and dimensions are still unknown today, as well as the exact price of the product. As far as the release date is concerned, what we know now is that Surface Hub 2 will be available in 2019.
Microsoft has recently launched a promotional video for Surface Hub 2 and it really projects the vision of the future that the company has had for years. The company has been obsessed with creating the perfect giant touchscreens for many years now and this second-generation model is truly making their dreams come true.
However, competition is fierce in this field, as Google managed to launch its first digital whiteboard in 2017 – Jamboard – and the price was of only $5,000, which is about $4,000 below the price for the 55-inch Surface Hub model.