After multiple delays, Microsoft’s eagerly-awaited new group collaboration PC, the Surface Hub, is now shipping to business customers who pre-ordered the device.
“We are so proud to announce that Surface Hub has begun shipping to business customers,” Brian Hall explains. “We are excited to see how Surface Hub will bring people together to work, create and learn in new ways.”
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Microsoft announced Surface Hub at a Windows 10 event in January 2015, and I finally got to spend some hands-on time with the impressive larger model in May 2015 at last year’s Build.
“Surface Hub is the real deal,” I wrote at the time. “Surface Hub is a collaboration tool, aimed at teams, that seeks to overcome the limitations of today’s meetings, whether they’re completely in-person or involve call-in co-workers too … It’s impossible to stand in front of this device and not want to touch it, and writing on the screen and using its multi-touch capabilities—spinning a 3D map of San Francisco, for example—is a delight. It may cost as much as my car, but I want one.”
As noted above, there are two versions of Surface Hub, a 55-inch 1080p model and the 84-inch 4K version I used. It is an impressive—and imposing—piece of hardware, with a glorious and bright screen and silky-smooth touch and pen capabilities. It turns Windows 10 apps—including built-in apps like Maps—into immersive experiences that need to be seen to be believed. The performance is superb.
But Surface Hub has been beset by delays. Microsoft originally intended to release the devices on September 1, 2015, but it delayed that release until January 2016 for unspecified reasons. In December, it delayed Surface Hub again in order to “build the right sales channel and better assess the market opportunity for this new category.” But Microsoft also raised prices on Surface Hub at that time—to $21,999 and $8,999, respectively (both being $2000 increases). Preorders were of course kept at the original prices.
Well, now those first preorders are finally shipping.
“In short, we’ve seen the future of group productivity as we have built this with our partners and customers,” Mr. Hall added. “We couldn’t be more excited about this future with this new category of product. We also can’t thank our customers and partners enough for their inspiration and contributions in making this product with us.”