Microsoft is currently working on a second generation of its Surface Hub, the company’s giant 55- and 84-inch 4K smart displays. “Surface Hub created an entirely new device category and we’re thrilled with the strong momentum we have seen across the globe,” says a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement to The Verge. “We’re working on V2 and will share more in the first half of this year.”
The software giant is planning to unveil the Surface Hub 2 in the first half of 2018, but it’s not clear when the devices will be available for businesses to purchase. Microsoft is also working on a new operating system upgrade for existing Surface Hub devices, and the company is hoping to bring many of the Surface Hub 2 software features to the current models. Microsoft Teams integration will also be available on the Surface Hub in the coming months.
So why is Microsoft pre-announcing a Surface Hub 2 today? “I think for enterprises they might want to prep budget allocations,” says Carolina Milanesi, a tech analyst at Creative Strategies. “There has been quite a bit of focus from other vendors too on digital boards which gives enterprises an alternative.”
Google launched its own $5,000 digital whiteboard last year, pricing it $4,000 below Microsoft’s 55-inch Surface Hub. Microsoft’s 84-inch model is currently priced at $21,999. While these are expensive options, Microsoft has sold Surface Hubs to more than 5,000 businesses in 25 countries with more than half of Fortunte 100 companies owning a device. That makes Surface Hub more popular than any other Surface device for Microsoft’s enterprise customers.
Microsoft is anticipating that demand for Surface Hub will outstrip supply over the course of the year, and it seems like the company is struggling to manufacture these giant displays quickly enough. Microsoft closed its US manufacturing plant for the company’s Surface Hub last year, presumably to cut costs and speed up production elsewhere. Microsoft originally announced its Surface Hub at a special Windows 10 event in January 2015. The 4K displays were supposed to ship that year, but they didn’t end up in businesses until March 2016.
Expect to hear more about the Surface Hub 2 in the coming months. It’s unlikely that Microsoft will hold a dedicated event for the device, but it could appear in a potential Surface spring event if Microsoft is ready to unveil other Surface hardware. We’re not expecting Microsoft to unveil its Surface Hub 2 at the company’s Build developer conference, though.