Microsoft Unveils Surface Hub, An 84-inch Windows 10 Powered Digital Whiteboard
With the aim to transform workplace productivity and teleconferencing, Microsoft has announced a gigantic display with touch capabilities and handwriting recognition. The device is called the Surface Hub and it’s essentially a 4K 84-inch tablet running Windows 10.
Microsoft introduced the Surface Hub during a company press event on Wednesday. The device includes a digital whiteboard that users can write on with a stylus pen and an application to view and move around 3D images. Audience can view what’s on the screen either in a meeting room or via an Internet connect from a remote site.
The feature would be of great use to employees who can now conveniently work and collaborate with each other regardless of their locations.
The whiteboard uses Microsoft’s OneNote, a digital note-taking application, so users can easily save notes in the app or email them.
The hardware of the device has a host of I/Os which include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, HDMI, NFC, built-in microphones and cameras. Microsoft said it is also equipped with ports to connect to peripheral devices.
The Surface Hub is packed with several of Microsoft’s Kinect motion sensors around its all the four sides, as well as inside itself. It can pick up audio from anyone in its vicinity and will activate even when you walk up to it.
Under its hood, the Windows 10-powered display will apparently run universal Windows apps natively while also having its own Surface Hub-specific apps to go alongside them. The device can also run any Windows app using Skype from any connected device, regardless of whether that device is running Windows 10.
The strategy behind the move is to make the device as collaborative as possible. “You’re not going to use Google, Apple or Samsung,” said Mike Angiulo, the corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Devices Group. “We had to create machinery that didn’t exist.”
Microsoft believes the new device could enhance the productivity of any company or team that uses a conference room. But the Redmond still needs to convince businesses how these colossal screens will be beneficial in the workplace beyond their use for brainstorming ideas and Skype video conferencing.
Microsoft hasn’t yet said a word about what the device will cost or when it will be released other than ‘later this year’.