Microsoft is demonstrating its Surface Hub 2 hardware for the first time today. The software maker used a Surface Hub 2 during a keynote at the Microsoft Ignite conference today. It’s the first time we’ve seen the Surface Hub 2 in public, and more importantly the first time we’ve seen Microsoft reveal some of the software that will power it. Microsoft’s demonstration involved rotating the 50-inch display to show off the smooth animations that let content move on the display.
It’s part of a new Windows Core OS (WCOS) effort inside Microsoft to modularize its operating system to run as clever modes on clever hardware. Microsoft has been working on WCOS and its Composable Shell (C-Shell) for years, and both efforts will allow Windows to run on new hardware. Surface Hub 2 is a good example of that new type of hardware, alongside Microsoft’s rumored “pocketable” Surface device, codenamed Andromeda.
Today’s demo also showed how the Surface Hub 2 will handle multiple users thanks to a fingerprint sensor. The reader is mounted at the bottom of the device, and multiple users can use it to scan their fingers and log into the Surface Hub 2. Recent files are then displayed on the screen so multiple documents can be opened across multiple accounts for collaboration.
Microsoft also revealed today that the company has altered its Surface Hub 2 hardware. A new Surface Hub 2S will debut next year with the 4K cameras and edge-to-edge display, but the impressive rotation features and new software won’t arrive until 2020. Microsoft is planning to release a software update in 2020, dubbed Surface Hub 2X, that will use a special processor cartridge at the rear of the device to upgrade both the hardware and software. Microsoft has not provided an exact release date for the Surface Hub 2 or pricing, but the company says the hardware will now be released in Q2 of 2019.