Microsoft first revealed its giant Surface Hub displays at a Windows 10 event back in January. Both models, 55-inch and 84-inch, are designed primarily for conference rooms and businesses. Microsoft acquired multitouch company Perceptive Pixel to bring the Surface Hub to life, and the result is a large 4K multitouch display complete with an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor (dependant on screen size) and inking support. Microsoft is planning to start taking orders for the 55-inch Surface Hub for $6,999 and the larger 84-inch model for $19,999 next month, and shipments begin in September.
The 84-inch model might be out of most small businesses’ budgets, but the $6,999 55-inch version is closer. Given the thousands of dollars that are spent on conference room equipment, Microsoft is trying to muscle in and provide a single interactive display that can host a meeting between co-workers. The technology behind Surface Hub is impressive: there’s 100 points of multitouch, support for three simultaneous pen inputs, and dual 1080p cameras and microphones that reduce background noise during video calls. Microsoft has also built in Bluetooth, NFC, and a number of ports to make this more than just a giant display. After all, there’s a PC inside so you can always plug in USB storage or connect to the Surface Hub from a laptop.
Both Surface Hubs are powered by Windows 10, but it’s a stripped down version that’s designed for these displays. You’re not going to get a giant desktop running on the screen, but instead a more touch-friendly interface and apps like OneNote and other custom apps that take advantage of the touch and ink inputs. It’s all part of Microsoft’s big dream and obsession with giant displays, and the company sees these devices as the future of conference rooms and perhaps even one day your living room. $6,999 is a good start for businesses, but until you can pick one up for closer to $2,000 then you won’t see a Surface Hub (or anything like it) in Walmart or Best Buy just yet. Microsoft is targeting business directly through its partners, and companies will be able to start ordering the Surface Hub in 24 markets on July 1st.
Update June 10th, 9:05AM: Article updated to include September shipment date.