Remember the Surface Hub? You probably don’t. Unlike Microsoft’s other PCs — the Surface Pro, Book, Laptop and Studio — the Hub was a giant and expensive device meant for workplace collaboration, not average consumers. It was never going to star in commercials or turn heads at Best Buy. And even Microsoft admits that it only sold to more than 5,000 customers. But its successor, the Surface Hub 2, is another matter entirely.
It’s a sleek 50.5-inch 4K+ display (the exact resolution is still being finalized) that can be rotated with a slight push, turning it into huge portrait screen. That makes it useful for both scribbling notes with colleagues, or video chatting with someone that’s almost life-sized. You can tile up to four together to create an even larger display, or spread multiple Hub 2s around the room, each serving different roles. It features rolling cases and mounts co-developed with Steelcase, which Microsoft partnered with last year to envision creative workspaces. Even its 3 x 2 aspect ratio is unique, since every other large screen these days is a wider 16 x 9.
The Surface Hub 2 isn’t just another connected display. It’s a bold attempt at transforming the way we work. Panos Panay, Microsoft’s chief product officer, describes it as more of a huddle board — something that’ll get people out of their seats and collaborating in entirely new ways. Naturally, there’s touchscreen support, but you can also throw documents to the Surface Hub 2 from your computer, or control presentations using your phone. And perhaps most importantly for Microsoft, it’s deeply connected to Teams, which could encourage more companies to move over to its Slack rival.