When Microsoft announced its massive Surface Hub digital whiteboards in 2015, it wanted to transform business meetings. Unfortunately, that vision has been delayed — twice — but as of yesterday, the Surface Hub is now ready for the real world. The company has announced that it is now shipping the Windows 10-powered displays to businesses. They come in two sizes, 55 and 84 inches, the larger of which is 4K. They cost $8,999 and $21,999, respectively.
Big bucks = Big productivity?
Of course, at those prices, these are far more than just displays. They support 100 points of touch input, as well as digital pens. There's a Core i5/i7 computer inside with a 128GB SSD and 8GB of RAM. The larger one even has discrete Nvidia Quadro graphics. There's also Bluetooth and NFC, as well as a dual webcam with noise-cancelling microphones is also built-in to the bezel for teleconferences.
With those features, Microsoft hopes the displays can function as the "hub" of business conferences and meetings. It's a screen for PowerPoint presentations. It's a whiteboard for note-taking and brainstorming. It's a teleconferencing setup. In addition to traditional meeting rooms, Microsoft says companies have already found a home for the Surface Hub not just in conference rooms, but also "factory floors, lecture halls, hospitals, and executive offices and boardrooms." Powerful, flexible screens like this might some day replace the "Smart TVs" of today, but only when the price comes down to something in the $2,000 range.
Correction: An earlier version of this story indicated both models have 4K screens. Only the 84-inch one does, the 55-inch model has a 1080p screen.