Microsoft's Surface Hub pre-orders start July 1st, top end will cost $19,999

Microsoft has a new Surface Hub for the enterprise which the company hopes will unlock the power of the group meeting. The devices, which come in 55-inch and 84-inch sizes, are designed for the conference room and carry a price tag to match.

The Surface Hub packs everything you could ever imagine under the glass, with the 55-inch version having an Intel i5 powering the device, and the 84-inch model sporting an i7 processor - obviously, these are not your average conference room displays.

If you are not familiar with the Surface Hub, the device is a computer, whiteboard, and web-conference tool that is built to live in your meeting rooms. Running Windows 10, it works with all the apps you would expect like OneNote, Office and Skype. Microsoft is bringing its productivity and hardware expertise to make your next meeting worthwhile.

Pre-orders for both sizes, open on July 1st and the devices will start shipping in September; the Hub will be available in 24 markets at launch as well. The Surface Hub comes with a one-year warranty but this includes on-site service and support as well. The specs are posted below:

Surface Hub - 55in and 84in
OS Custom version of Windows 10
Exterior

Dimensions: 84 – 46.12” x 86.7” x 4.15” (1171.5mm x 2202.9mm x 105.4mm)
55 – 31.75” x 59.62” x 3.38” (806.4mm x 1514.3mm x 85.8mm)

Weight: 84 – 280lbs, 55 – 105lbs Color: Black

Physical buttons: Power, Input Select, Volume, Brightness
Storage 128 GB SSD, 8 GB RAM
Display

Resolution: 3840 x 2160 (84” model) and 1920 x 1080 (55” model) Aspect ratio: 16:9,

Touch: 100-point multi-touch
Pen input Surface Hub Pen (two included), Powered, Active, subpixel accuracy
CPU

84”: 4th Generation Intel Core i7 with Nvidia Quadro K2200 Graphics
55”: 4th Generation Intel Core i5 with Intel HD 4600 Graphics

Network

Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac)
Ethernet 1Gbps
Bluetooth 4.0 low energy
NFC Reader
Miracast Enabled

Cameras and A/V

Dual 1080p front-facing cameras, 100 degree Horizontal field of view
High performance, 4 element array microphone
Dual Front-facing stereo speakers

Ports

84 – (1) USB 3.0, (4) USB 2.0, Ethernet 1Gbps, DisplayPort Out, 3.5mm Stereo Out, RS232 Serial (RJ11). Ingest: DisplayPort In, HDMI In, VGA In, 3.5mm Stereo In, (2) USB 2.0 type B

55 – (1) USB 3.0, (2) USB 2.0, Ethernet 1Gbps, DisplayPort Out, 3.5mm Stereo Out, RS232 Serial (RJ11). Ingest: DisplayPort In, HDMI In, VGA In, 3.5mm Stereo In, (1) USB 2.0 type B

Sensors 2 Passive Infrared Presence Sensors, Ambient Light Sensors
In the box Two Surface Hub Pens, Microsoft All-In-One Media Keyboard and power cable
Warranty One-year limited warranty (In the U.S.; warranty terms vary by market)

This device is aimed squarely at the enterprise and is not intended for consumers to purchase. While the price is high, Microsoft believes this device will actually save corporations money when they build out their conferences rooms.

According to the company's internal research, when determining the price for the Hub, they noted that the average amount spent on a conference room for 8-12 people is around $38,000 and that does not consider the cost of installation of the hardware. For a conference room of 3-4 people, the average AV cost can reach up to $21,000, which makes the smaller Surface Hub at $6,999 for this sized room a value proposition.

When speaking with JP Gownder, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester, he noted that Oblong's Mezzanine technology costs $125,000+ per room, and Cisco's Telepresence and HP's similar offering can run $50,000+ as well. While these systems are not exact 1:1 comparable to the Hub, it does show you the type of expense that is typically invested into the room the Surface Hub is targeting.

The Surface Hub builds on the DNA created by Perceptive Pixel (PPI), which Microsoft acquired a few years ago. With a focus on large screens and interactive displays, the team behind the previous generation PPI displays were crucial to creating this new device and helping Microsoft move deeper into the hardware market for the enterprise.

Every year, corporations spend millions of dollars on ERP systems and the like to keep an office running, and they will then spend millions more streamlining processes to save a few minutes a day. If Microsoft is able to prove that the Surface Hub is able to take one of the most mundane activities in the enterprise and make meetings more productive, the $19,999 top-end price tag will be a pittance on the balance sheet.

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