Microsoft is unveiling hardware changes to its Surface Hub 2 today. The software giant first unveiled its 50-inch display earlier this year, with a promise of a 2019 release. While the hardware will now be released in Q2 of 2019, many of the cool new software features will require a hardware and software update set to launch in 2020.
Microsoft is planning to use removable processor cartridges in its Surface Hub 2S product that launches next year, and users will be able to purchase an upgrade cartridge to the Surface Hub 2X in 2020. The cartridges slot into the back of the Surface Hub 2 hardware and can be upgraded or serviced. Microsoft’s hardware upgrades sound similar to Samsung’s previous efforts with smart TVs that you could upgrade each year with an “evolution kit” that updated the processor.
Microsoft’s upgraded hardware will include a software update to enable new features like tile, rotate, and multi user log in. Microsoft has been working on a special version of Windows 10 for the Surface Hub 2, but the Surface Hub 2S will ship with the original Surface Hub software instead. The Surface Hub 2X in 2020 will include this new software, and be powered by Microsoft’s Office 365 service.
It appears that Microsoft has separated its Surface Hub 2 into two different versions for businesses to allow them to pick and choose. Many businesses aren’t ready to make the move to a fully cloud-powered Surface Hub and services like Office 365. The Surface Hub 2S is aimed at those who still have on premises servers for Exchange and other Microsoft services, and when they’re ready they can upgrade to the Surface Hub 2X.
Still, the Surface Hub 2S will ship with the same impressive hardware we saw earlier this year, but without some of the features and slick software support. Businesses waiting for that new software will now need to wait a little longer into 2020, but the hardware with 4K cameras and an edge-to-edge display will be the same in both the Surface Hub 2S and Surface Hub 2X.