It’s not quite a delay, but Surface Hub 2 won’t be rolling out exactly as Microsoft originally planned. Instead, Microsoft will release the upcoming collaborative device in two versions, one of which will run the original Surface Hub experience.
This is understandable in retrospect, and as Microsoft explained today, the decision to make such a version of Surface Hub 2—which it will call Surface Hub 2S—is due to feedback: Many corporate customers who have already rolled out the original Surface Hub and are interested in Surface Hub 2 as well don’t want to have two different experiences across different device types.
Surface Hub 2—sorry, Surface Hub 2S—will still launch in 2019 as promised. But the software giant is using customer feedback as an excuse to effectively delay the “real” Surface Hub 2 display, now called Surface Hub 2X, to 2020.
The good news? Customers that purchase Surface Hub 2S can upgrade to the full Surface Hub 2X experience.
“In 2020, we will release updates to the Surface Hub family to enable customers to update to Surface Hub 2X,” Microsoft’s Robin Seiler explains. “This includes the ability to tile, rotate, and enable multi user log in. This simple update is enabled by our design of removable processor cartridges, in an easily accessible hardware chassis on the back of the Surface Hub 2. This processor cartridge can be removed, upgraded and serviced over time. The cartridge is what will enable customers to make the switch to the Microsoft 365-powered Surface Hub 2X in 2020.”
I know that many will see this in a negative light. And it’s fair to point out that the original Surface Hub was delayed, saw a price increase, and has been in short supply ever since it first shipped. So why should Surface Hub 2 be any different?
I get that. But Surface Hub 2 being shaped by customer feedback is a good thing, and the ability to switch between Surface Hub 2S and 2X functionality will give those customers the continuity they require. I do have questions—including the cost of that processor cartridge upgrade—but it’s more important to get this right than to ship a new generation of hardware on an arbitrary schedule.
We have the chance to go hands-on with Surface Hub 2 this week in Ignite. I’m looking forward to that, assuming my crazy-busy schedule allows for it.
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