Today Microsoft announced more news regarding the Surface Hub, which is their large-screen collaboration device. Built specifically for the business conference room, the Surface Hub packs some impressive features inside.

The first bit of news though is that the Surface Hub will be available for pre-order starting on July 1st, and shipments will begin in September. It will initially be available in twenty four markets, with the United States, Canada, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Qatar, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom all getting first dibs on this new device. The prices will seem steep to anyone who does not often furnish a conference room, with the smaller 55-inch model being offered for $6999, and the 84-inch model will sell for $19,999.

That is not inexpensive at all, but it should actually be less expensive that some of the other conference room solutions, and yet pack in technology that they can’t offer. Here is a table of the listed specifications:

Microsoft Surface Hub
  Surface Hub 55" Surface Hub 84"
Dimensions H: 31.75" (806.4 mm)
W: 59.62" (1514.3 mm)
D: 3.38" (85.8 mm)
H: 46.12" (1171.5 mm)
W: 86.7" (2202.9 mm)
D: 4.15" (105.4 mm)
Weight 105 lbs (48 kg) 280 lbs (127 kg)
CPU Intel Haswell (4th Gen) Core i5 Intel Haswell (4th Gen) Core i7
GPU Intel HD 4600 NVIDIA Quadro K2200 640 CUDA Cores
RAM 8 GB 8 GB
Storage 128 GB SSD 128 GB SSD
Display 55" 1920x1080 @ 120 Hz
1300:1 Contrast Ratio
100-point Multi-touch
Three Simultaneous Active Pens
Projective Capacitance optically bonded sensor
84" 3840x2160 @ 120 Hz
1400:1 Contrast Ratio
100-point Multi-touch
Three Simultaneous Active Pens
Projective Capacitance optically bonded sensor
Networking Wired 1 Gbps
Wireless 802.11ac
Bluetooth 4.0 LE
NFC Reader
Miracast Enabled
Ports Internal PC
(1) USB 3.0 (bottom) + (1) USB 3.0 (side access)
(2) USB 2.0
Ethernet 1000 Base-T
DisplayPort Video Output
3.5mm Stereo Out
RS232 Serial Port
RJ11 Connector for system level control

Alternate PC
(2) USB 2.0 type B output, connection for:
Camera
Sensors
Microphone
Speakers
Touchback™
(1) DisplayPort Video Input

Guest PC
DisplayPort Video Input
HDMI Video Input
VGA Video Input
3.5mm Stereo Input
(1) USB 2.0 type B Touchback™ Output
Sensors (2) Passive Infrared Presence Sensors
Ambient Light Sensors
Speakers (2) Front Facing Speakers
Microphone High Performance, 4 Element Array
Cameras (2) 1080p @ 30fps
Price $6,999 $19,999

The first notable aspect is the displays, which both feature optically bonded projective capacitance sensors to minimize reflections. Both models also can support an insane 100 points of concurrent multi-touch, and three simultaneous pen inputs. The 55-inch model is a 1920x1080 panel, and the 84-inch is a 3840x2160 resolution, and both have a refresh rate of 120Hz. The touch digitizer is also 120Hz, and according to Microsoft it makes the experience much more akin to an analog counterpart.

These will not be just displays to project to either. Powering the Surface Hub is a custom version of Windows 10, which is run on a Haswell Core i5 on the smaller model and a Core i7 on the larger one. The 84-inch model also jumps from integrated graphics to the NVIDIA Quadro K2200, which is a Maxwell based GM107 GPU with 640 CUDA Cores. Both Hubs come with 128 GB of SSD storage and 8 GB of RAM, as well as Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11ac, with Bluetooth 4.0 LE, NFC, and Miracast available.

They will also feature two front-facing stereo speakers, a four element microphone, two 1080p cameras each, as well as passive infrared presence sensors and ambient light sensors.

I think the steep price is going to keep these devices closely locked to their target audience of conference and meeting rooms. It would be very cool to have an 84-inch Windows 10 powered Smart TV, but for $20,000 it would be a tough sell.

I’ve asked a couple of questions to Microsoft to get some more details about this device though, including its ability to handle HDMI 2.0 inputs and a few other things, so once I hear back I’ll update the post.

Source: Microsoft

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  • K_Space - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    Any idea who's supplying the panels? Reply
  • Brett Howse - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    Not sure, the panel is the only thing not assembled by Microsoft. Reply
  • Morawka - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    Looks to be LG Reply
  • blaktron - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    I'm pretty sure the best part of this is the built in RJ11 and RS232 ports. The application for these devices because of this is actually pretty staggering, you can have them control all sorts of stuff directly, like existing x10 automated offices etc. Reply
  • quiksilvr - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    These prices make no damn sense at all These don't even have current generation chips and the 55" has a Core i5 processor. They only has 8GB of RAM! I understand the touchscreen aspect is the main draw here, but these prices make no sense. Make that 55" 4K, give it a current generation Core i7 chip with 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD and a $4999 price point. And do the same with the 84" but give it a $7999 price point. Reply
  • bminor13 - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    Prices are driven by demand, not by component cost. According to the article, "That is not inexpensive at all, but it should actually be less expensive that some of the other conference room solutions, and yet pack in technology that they can’t offer". By their research, these price points do make sense. What research of current conference room technologies and their costs do you have to offer that counter this claim?

    Additionally, the price of this device has to cover the costs of development, not just components. As this will probably not be as high volume a device, as, say, the Surface tablets, the margin needs to be much higher to cover those costs.

    Can you explain the need for the additional hardware specs you list? What would having 16GB vs 8 allow the device to do? Does the increased SSD size fill a specific need?
    Reply
  • mpschan - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    Completely agree. There's nothing a conference room PC needs to do that requires 16GB of ram. Applications needing more ram would likely not be installed on the PC. Reply
  • npz - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    If you're just using it as a simple whiteboard presentation PC then sure, 8GB is fine.

    But if you're working with multimedia, or say, very large GIS data, that you also want to share with others i.e. whiteboard and tele-conference of media production or editing, then I think it should have at least 16GB or more.

    There's smartsound collaboration music software (which Sony had included in their package) to allow multiple artists to collaborate and Vegas 13 Pro also has collaboration features. This MS Surface Hub would a useful tool to provide that kind of functionality for multiple users in a room and remote users to edit a production together (or brainstorm ideas) in a centralized fashion
    Reply
  • mr_tawan - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    If it's required then plug another PC in is also supported.

    By the way, is thing support feature like ... PIP ?
    Reply
  • jhoff80 - Thursday, June 11, 2015 - link

    My understanding is that it does, including with images sent to it via Miracast. Reply

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